How to deal with social media trolls and avoid their impact on your mind?

Technology and social media may have added a new realm in our life, but sometimes, it comes at the cost of our mental health. No matter how glamorous social media life looks from outside, the reality can be totally different. As platforms where people can freely express themselves, there’s also a lot of hatred and criticism on social media. While constructive criticism is a healthy way to tell the other person how he or she can improve without making them feel bad about it, social media trolls make it worse for people who actually face it.

How can social media trolling affect you?

Health Shots spoke to psychiatrist Dr Samir Parikh, Director – Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare, about it. He says that unfortunately, social media has become a platform where trolling can be done very easily.

“Whether you’re directly being trolled or not, you’re constantly being exposed to someone who’s being trolled and both elements need to be given equal importance. Let’s say, you go on a social media page and see a lot of negative comments, aggression and abusive language. What happens is it leads you to a negative experience. Even if you went there for a particular reason, still it increases the perception of negativity in our lives. The other aspect when an individual is directly exposed to trolls. It can be worse as it can bring a harsh impact to the individual’s mental health,” he adds.

covid-19 and mental health
It is important to take social media breaks, in order to take care of your mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the problems faced if you are exposed to trolls directly?

People who face trolls regularly tend to:

  1. Get anxious
  2. Feel insecure about oneself
  3. Suffer from irregular sleep cycle
  4. Have negative impact on your relationships or work
  5. Have lower self esteem
  6. Cause self harm

Can social media detox help in dealing with trolls?

It can be overwhelming to just log out from your social media handles when trolls are constantly pestering you. Yes, spending less time on social media can help you come out of that trauma temporarily, but it won’t really give you a permanent solution. A lot of celebrities keep quitting social media platforms and take a break from it, but it won’t completely reduce the impact of the negative comment on their mental health. Social media trends can spare nobody, if it is a commoner or a celebrity. The best way is to deal with it smartly.

How can you deal with social media trolling?

1. Believe in yourself

“The right way forward is to realize that whoever is trolling you is giving his or their opinion and that does not mean that it is the right thing that you should trust. Understand that a certain percentage of people may not agree on what you believe in or what you do, and that does not mean that there’s something wrong with you,” says Dr Parikh.

2. Block them

You have to learn to block it in your mind and of course, block their handles depending upon the platform you’re using. Nowadays, there’s an option called “report” in your social media apps which can also help you get that account reported. It’s always better to report these trolls there and then.

eating disorder
Don’t make social media your whole world. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Talk it out

If you feel that it’s playing in your mind, it’s a good idea to talk to someone since it can be a traumatic experience. Depending upon each individual, it can actually result in a very similar impact like any trauma you’ve experienced in your life.

4. Never respond

It’s rightly said if you throw a pebble in muddy water, it will only give you dirt. Responding to trolls is giving them what they want, that is attention. As you will respond to them they’ll do that more. The best solution is to give a silent treatment. Blocking them is the best way to keep them away.

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