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Aggression of teenagers on the Internet: trolling and cyberbullying


Social networks are one of the most popular places on the Internet. They register people of all ages - from children to senior citizens. In addition to social networks, there are many thematic forums, sites that provide the opportunity to express their opinions on pressing issues and ask questions.

In these places, cases of insult are very frequent, because people feel their impunity. They do not always think that their actions are not legal.

Article 282 of the Criminal Code

Currently, article 282 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation has gained popularity for insulting on the Internet. The article states that any actions aimed at inciting hostility or hatred and at the humiliation of dignity on the basis of sex, racial, national and religious grounds that are committed in public or from the Internet should entail responsibility. This may be the payment of a rather large fine for an insult on the Internet (300-500 thousand rubles) or punishment by forced labor. Also, the punished may be deprived of the right to engage in certain activities and occupy certain positions for about 3-5 years. In special cases, it can even be imprisonment for 2-5 years.

Of course, in the situation under consideration, the law is quite loyal and it is unlikely that it will be unlikely that the offender stays in places of deprivation of liberty, but this possibility should not be completely excluded. This article is the guarantor of the punishment of the offender, subject to the possibility of proving his guilt.

Social Media Insult

The insult in contact, classmates and other social networks is most common and for unprotected layers of the population can have terrible consequences.

Around the time when social networks appeared (and they appeared in our country quite recently), the so-called "trolls" appeared next. This group includes people whose manner of communication is rude, have a negative connotation and are full of cynicism, rudeness and all kinds of provocations. These people usually create pages with a false name, thinking that they protect themselves and their affiliation with the insults is impossible to prove. They behave in a similar way in order to draw attention to their person and raise their usually low self-esteem. Insult in social networks also falls under article 282 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which provocateurs usually do not think about.

Experienced Internet users usually try not to pay attention to such people, and inexperienced users such behavior can seriously hurt and ruin the mood for a long time.

Responsibility and Punishment

In order to prosecute for insulting on social networks, first of all, you need to contact the police and provide evidence, and then write a statement.

If you want to receive compensation, you need to write a letter to the justice of the peace, to whom the case with the claim will subsequently fall.

To prove the insult will require:

  1. Screenshot of the insult displayed. It is necessary to make sure that there is no doubt about the orientation of the insult towards you.
  2. Face. The most difficult thing on the Internet in such cases is to prove that at that moment this person was on the computer. If there is a witness who can prove this fact, then this will be the best proof.

After completing these steps, you can go to the police.

It is important not to forget that in this case, not everyone succeeds in achieving a positive result in court, most often the case does not go beyond the local police station. A more simplified option would be to contact the administration of the social network or add the user to the “black list”. It is worth noting that the losing side most often incurs the costs of paying for the services of a lawyer.

People who allow themselves insults on the Internet should be punished, this will serve as a good lesson for the offender and his environment, which can behave in this way.

Arbitrage practice

In practice, such claims are not common, but the fact is not ruled out that this will soon be commonplace.

In the Yaroslavl region, bailiffs are preparing to conduct executive proceedings in a similar case. One woman described her work colleague as a seducer of all the men in the organization where they worked. After she posted on the social network a compromising record for all to see. The offended woman in response filed a lawsuit where the offender was ordered to pay a fine for insulting on the Internet 50 thousand rubles.

It remains to be expected that soon the control of behavior will be at a high level, and for insulting on the Internet, judicial practice will become more frequent.

Victims and aggressors: Internet security lessons

Teens they behave differently on the Internet, and they are likely to encounter aggression on the Web. The illusion of anonymity and impunity leads to the fact that some users insult other users and provoke them to conflict - sometimes it ends in disaster. How to protect children from attacks by their peers?

Trolling can be direct (insults to participants, violation of the rules of the resource, incitement, quarrels) and disguised (off-topic messages, return to another hot topic, veiled messages, at first glance positive). Trolls want a reaction in the form of a direct conflict. In a skirmish with such a user, it is very easy to lose control over yourself and become a troll yourself.

Trolls may seek to annoy communication participants, but their humiliation may also be their goal. In this case, trolling can go into targeted bullying, or bullying. According to the definition of Igor Kon, bullying is usually understood as intimidation, humiliation, bullying, physical or psychological terror, aimed at causing another to fear and thereby subordinate the person to himself. At all times, this was one of the serious problems of the teenage environment.

The development of infocommunication technologies has led to the spread of cyberbullying - an aggressive, deliberate act committed by a group of people or by one person using electronic forms of contact, repeated repeatedly and for a long time in relation to a victim who is difficult to protect himself. The virtual environment in which cyberbullying takes place allows aggressors to feel less vulnerable and less responsible for their actions. Anonymity is the main factor that distinguishes cyberbullying from regular bullying in direct contact. Other differences are manifested in the fact that cyberbullying occurs outside the school, more discreetly and often does not allow you to see the emotional reactions of the victim.

According to the “Children of Russia Online” study, an average of 23% of children 9–16 years old using the Internet in Russia became victims of bullying online or offline over the past 12 months. Similar data were obtained on average in 25 European countries (19%).

A fifth of Russian children are offended and humiliated either every day, or 1-2 times a week. This problem is especially relevant for users aged 11-12: almost a third of children in this age group fall victim to bullying more than once a week, which significantly exceeds the indicators in other age groups.

Often, the students themselves are aggressors. In Russia, every fourth child admitted that over the past year he offended or insulted other people in real life or on the Internet. At the same time, there are twice as many subjects of bullying in Russia than the average for European countries.

Cyberbullying is an Internet problem originating in real life. Every tenth Russian student is faced with bullying on the Web. At the same time, as the results of a study by the Internet Development Fund show, every second child who is a victim of cyberbullying also faces bullying face to face. In European countries, children are exposed to cyberbullying an average of two times less. In many ways, as in the case of the risk of online dating, this is due to the fact that for many years in Europe and the USA digital literacy training programs have been working in schools, which can significantly increase the skills of safe use of the Internet by children.

How do children deal with such situations? Most of all, they prefer active strategies for coping with the situation, and every sixth of the victims of bullying chose a confrontational strategy and thus could become an aggressor. Often, cyberbullying victims form their own strategies in the form of specific ways to counter aggressors on the Internet.

A significant way to deal with difficult online situations was the search for informational, emotional and effective support. Most children seek online social support, primarily from friends. It is significant that the proportion of children seeking help from parents is lower in Russia than in Europe. Among 10% of children who became victims of cyberbullying, only one in five parents was aware of this (21%), and more than half were sure that their child did not face such a risk (61%). Very few children turn to teachers or specialists for help.

Not all children can apply special online strategies to combat cyberbullying. So, blocking the aggressor is rated as highly effective, but it is used only by every third child who has become a victim of online bullying. These results emphasize the need to develop adult digital literacy programs: both parents and professionals working with children. Often, children can be both victims and aggressors, so it is important to educate them that acting in an online environment can have significant consequences in real life.

In many countries, measures are being taken to combat bullying and cyberbullying at the level of state policy (programs to prevent the collision with digital risks, information campaigns, teacher training). Some countries, such as Canada, have adopted laws regarding school cyberbullying. For example, in Ontario, cyberbullying is an offense that could entail the temporary or final expulsion of an aggressor from an educational institution. In European countries, programs are being implemented that are aimed at teaching the positive and safe use of the Internet and in which cyberbullying prevention is of great importance. For example, Pantallas Amigas (Protecting Friends) and SecuKids in Spain or the pilot project E-learning and E-teaching in notebook classes in Austria. In France, with the submission of the Ministry of Education, together with a number of public organizations, school institutions receive information and recommendations on the prevention of cyberbullying. At the same time, Internet companies are developing self-regulatory mechanisms by which users can complain about inappropriate, including aggressive, content.

In Russia, MTS is implementing the “Children on the Internet” federal educational program with the support of the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, the Safe Internet League and several other partners. Within the framework of the Children on the Internet program, MTS implements a whole range of activities: it organizes interactive thematic exhibitions on the basis of leading museums and libraries in Russia, conducts online literacy classes for elementary school students and seminars for teachers on the educational methodology developed jointly with the Internet Development Fund and approved Federal Institute for the Development of Education. Interactive exhibitions held in more than 30 cities of the Russian Federation. In 2014, exhibitions were held for the first time in the south of Russia (Krasnodar) and in Siberia (Barnaul). MTS has educated a healthy and safe internet throughout the country for more than 300,000 children.

Danger of Persecution on the Web

“These reports made me depressed,” says Mattox. She is just one of the millions in the world who are victims of online bullying. Even in our progressive society, communication ethics is often overlooked. However, studies show that bullying on the Internet can leave a serious scar on the human psyche, damaging his mental health. The growing amount of time we spend on the Web exposes us to new forms of intimidation. Although they are faceless, yet their destructive impact is great.

The problem that scientists are just starting to work on

Fortunately for Mattox, her breakup and subsequent intimidation occurred just at the time she planned to go to university. In the new environment, the girl was able to make new friends who helped her cope. She has chosen one of the psychological specializations, and is currently engaged in the study of these issues, as well as helping those who are being abused on the Web.

“Cyberbullying has changed my mind,” say Nikki. "I have become stronger and kinder. However, to curb bullying on the Web, much remains to be done."

"The results of my research show that we need special filters to catch hate speech," said Haji Salim, research director Mattox. "Such a tool should be as accurate as possible, able to recognize specific keywords. The program should also identify some abuse of vocabulary. For example, it would seem that the neural word" animal "may be an insult."

Everyone is at risk: adolescents, adults, and even celebrities

Detecting bullying on the Web is not only scientific. As an example, you can take giant social networks - such as Instagram. One of the surveys conducted in 2017 showed: about 42% of adolescents became victims of insults on this service. And this is one of the highest rates in all social networks. In the worst cases, haters managed to persuade users to commit suicide. And this is not only about teenagers. For example, Queen guitarist Brian May is one of those who was bullied on Instagram.

"It made me take a fresh look at the stories of spam, intimidation and bringing people to suicide. Now I know in my own skin what it means to be at home, in a relaxed atmosphere, and - bang! - suddenly become an object of hatred and insults." .

Currently, Instagram uses special filters to recognize text and images that detect bullying, bullying or harassment. While this program has been used to hide poisonous comments since 2017, not so long ago, scientists began to improve it through machine learning. She seeks out phrases that belittle a person or his appearance, detects threats that appear on signatures and in comments.

Researchers consider the active identification and removal of this material one of the most important measures, since many victims of bullying do not report this to the site administration. However, even with these measures, malicious users still create “hate pages” to send offensive messages to their victims.

New Spot Chat Robot

Bullying on the Web exists in many forms, and it is extremely difficult to deal with them.For example, almost half of women face some form of discrimination - including intimate harassment and - while working in the European technology industry. But will technology help? So far, this question remains open. One of the attempts to protect users is a special chat robot Spot, whose purpose is security on the Web at the workplace. The program records the conversation with a time stamp. The user can send it anonymously to his employer. The idea is to turn information into evidence, as Spot developers explain.

Another application: Botler AI

Another tool is called Botler AI. The program provides advice to people who have experienced intimate harassment online. Botler AI was created on the basis of more than 300,000 court documents in the United States and Canada. The program uses the processing of information received from the user and allows us to conclude whether the person was a victim of sexual harassment in the eyes of the law. Botler AI creates an incident report that the user can transfer to the management of the company in which he works, for the police. The first version was released about six months ago. Its accuracy is about 89%.

Program for identifying potential suicides

Researchers at the University of Vanerbilt University Medical Center have trained special robotic programs to identify suicidal users. The algorithms of these bots are able to predict whether the patient will try to commit suicide or engage in self-harm with an accuracy of 92%. “We can collect data in the normal way to predict suicidal behavior, and this is encouraging,” said Colin Walsh, assistant professor of biomedicine.

One study conducted by scientists from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh revealed people with suicidal thoughts with an accuracy of 91%. The experiment participants were asked to think about 20 specific things related to the pleasant and unpleasant aspects of life. Then their brain was scanned using MRI. The information obtained was used for machine learning of computer programs.

Dangerous Recognition Technologies

The researchers also found how healthy people and individuals with suicidal tendencies think of terms such as "death" and "happiness." The computer was able to distinguish with an accuracy of 92% of nine people thinking of suicide or once attempted to take their own lives. Search engines and social media can use these programs to identify people in crisis. For example, when a person enters into a search engine a query about how to commit suicide, Google may give out a help line for psychological assistance. Also, applications will soon be introduced in social networks.

Security over privacy

In serious cases, the administration of social networks can contact the local authorities. One of the services that already works with such a program is Facebook. "We are not doctors, and we are not trying to make a psychiatric diagnosis," explains Dan Muriello, an engineer from the development team. "We're just trying to get the right information to the right people." And although this approach can cause privacy problems, thousands of people have already appreciated all the advantages of artificial intelligence in the fight against insults and bullying on the Web. Many mobile applications also allow those who suffer from depression and anxiety to discuss their problems. These programs meet all the criteria of modern cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Psychologist Comment:

Konstantin Bochaver, Ph.D. (Psychology), Head of the Laboratory of Health Psychology, Institute of Interdisciplinary Medicine and Sports Psychology, Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis:

“Children and parents in this area are far from each other: parents most often are not interested in what exactly a child is doing on the Internet, and children know this and do not count on understanding. The signs of cyberbullying in social networks or games are the same as in normal bullying: high anxiety, nervousness, depression of varying severity, children from grades 5-8 are more likely to bully than high school students.

It is important to understand that all cyberbullying participants are vulnerable. The victim not only experiences pressure and humiliation, but is also afraid to go online, and this takes one of the main communication channels with peers today from the child. The witness is vulnerable as he loses faith in the justice of the world and in social support. The bullying participant falls into the risk zone due to the most common impunity, and this leads him to the road of real offenses and risky behavior.

Also, having committed a rash act, for example, by hitting someone and filming it with a video or sending someone their intimate photos, the child will be highly anxious because of the danger of blackmail, so the consequences of cyberbullying can last quite a long time and take different forms. I’ll note right away that to select a gadget or to strengthen control over behavior on the Internet is not an option, it injures the child even more. Now to deprive a person of access to the Internet is like blindfolding him or isolating him in a windowless room.

Fight cyberbullying you only need to understand the situation, that is, speak confidentially with the child and create a sense of security and support. You can work with a psychologist individually or as a whole class, while the process should involve the victim, the aggressor, and witnesses.

From a legal point of view, in fact, the victims are sufficiently protected, but rarely know about it. The law on the “right to oblivion” is in force, data from the Internet can be removed through the court or with the participation of moderators of social networks, other laws are applicable to the situation of cyberbullying.

The main recipe for success is to fight not with cyberbullying itself at a time when bullying is in full swing, but with distrust between parents and a child and, of course, increase their own awareness of the mechanisms of Internet communication. ”

Parents will be able to learn more about how to make contact with their child and help him overcome any crisis at the Moscow International Salon of Education, which will be held from April 18 to 21 at VDNH. Admission is free, by pre-registration on the website:

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