Recent reports suggest that Internet trolling is on the increase. It is only natural to assume that when someone is being bombarded with threats and abuse online, a stranger is doing it; worryingly it appears that this may not always be the case. Some people are in fact doing it to themselves.
Known by some charities as self-cyberbullying or self-trolling, experts say this behaviour is part of a wider problem that is being dubbed ‘cyber self-harm’. To date only one study has been carried out regarding the practice by the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Centre (MARC). This study found that of the 617 young people interviewed, 9% had cyberbullied themselves online.
Dr Danah Boyd, youth culture and technology expert, says he didn’t think it ever dawned on anyone that teens would leverage online anonymity in this way.
Ellie* was 15 when she began cyberbullying herself. Setting up multiple profiles, the teenager sent multiple abusive messages to...