Have you ever been lowballed by a negative comment online? It can often be jarring and disheartening, especially when coming from someone you know or thought was a friend.
Between emotionally harmful comments that attack characters and malicious lies spread through social media platforms, it’s no surprise peer-to-peer online hate is on the rise. It may lead to negative consequences such as depression, anxiety, and thoughts of self-harm.
What Is Online Hate?
Online hate is any form of communication or behavior that intentionally or unintentionally causes psychological or physical harm to another person. It can take the form of derogatory comments, trolling, and cyberbullying.
According to United Nations, online hate is often motivated by gender, religion, sexual orientation, race, or ethnicity. It can range from offensive jokes to physical threats or posts that spread lies about others.
It is important to note that online hate isn’t limited to just social media platforms. It can also happen in other online forums such as Reddit, YouTube, and even through private messaging.
Matteo Cinelli and his associates conducted a comprehensive study that included 1.3M comments from over 345,000 users on 30,000 videos across 7000 YouTube channels.
The data demonstrates that hate speech is more frequent on YouTube than on other social media networks, and there are no remarkable differences between comments appearing in videos from trustworthy or dubious channels.
Who Are Haters and What Is Their Psychological Profile?
Haters are people who write negative comments online for personal gains, such as attention or notoriety. Their psychological profile includes a lack of empathy and the tendency to have an aggressive or cynical attitude toward others.
For example, one study found that trolls engage in online hate to seek attention rather than harm or offend. They also believe they are safe behind their computer screens and have little to no fear of being held accountable for their words.
These people usually find joy in attacking the character of others and spreading malicious lies. They may also use their anonymity to make inflammatory comments or threaten physical harm.
All too often, those with unfavorable views target individuals who diverge from them in some way. So, for example, poor people can hate the rich, older people can hate the young – and so on.
Why Do Haters Spread Hate Speech Online?
People may propagate hate speech online to feel superior, draw attention, or express their viewpoints. No matter the reason, this type of language should never be tolerated.
Here are some of the most common reasons why haters write negative comments:
- To make themselves feel better: People may write hateful comments to boost their own self-esteem or as an outlet for their frustrations.
- To get attention: Some people write hateful comments to seek attention or notoriety.
- To express negative feelings: Haters may write comments to express negative feelings such as anger, bitterness, or resentment.
- To express opinions: They may spread comments to express their opinions about certain topics, even if those opinions are negative or inflammatory.
- To spread malicious lies: Haters may write comments to spread false information or lies about others.
- To spread fear: Such trolls may write comments to intimidate or frighten others.
These are just some of the most prevalent reasons why people spread hate speech online. It’s important to be aware of these motivations, as they can help us better understand why people write such comments in the first place.
How Can We Protect Ourselves Against Online Haters?
Hate speech can be extremely damaging and hurtful. Therefore, it’s important to take steps to protect ourselves against such negative comments.
Here are some tips that can help:
1. Don’t Respond to the Troll
As tempting as it may be, responding to a hater can only worsen the situation. It may give the hater more attention, furthering their goal of seeking notoriety. Instead, try to ignore it and move on with your day.
2. Block the Hater
If possible, block or report the hater on whatever platform they’re using. It will prevent them from being able to comment further and can help protect you from further harm.
3. Document the Incident
If the hater is making death threats or other illegal comments, it’s important to document the incident. Take screenshots and save any relevant information in case you need to report the incident further down the line.
4. Reach Out for Support from Friends & Family
Importantly, keep in mind that you’re not alone – reach out to your friends and family for support when needed. They can help provide encouragement and reassurance and be invaluable sources of support.
5. Recognize That Haters Don’t Define You
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that haters don’t define you. So don’t let their comments keep you from doing what you love. You are capable, and you will prevail!
These are just some tips that can help protect yourself against online haters. Remember to stay safe, and don’t let the haters win. With the right approach, you can stay safe and healthy both online and offline.
The internet can be a great tool, but it can also be a place of hate and negativity. Unfortunately, over the last few years, the prevalence of hate speech online has grown significantly. Hate speech is unfortunate, but it is possible to protect ourselves and stay safe.
It’s important to understand why people spread hate and take steps to protect yourself against online haters.
Remember that you don’t have to let their words define you – take measures to protect yourself and move forward with positivity.
With the right approach, you can protect yourself both online and offline!