The line between trolling and cyberbullying is very thin and hard to see, but I did see one comment that I had to screencap and point out. There was a time where I might have fallen for it because I happen to be on the autism spectrum. This is an example where you have to stop, reread and realize the statement being made is meant to be "flame bait."
Internet trolling is taken from a fishing term. Trolling for fish, I believe, involves dangling several baited hooks in the water and hoping something bites. Fish can't always tell the difference between actual food and bait. In the same vein, a very good troll can make it hard to tell whether they really mean what they say or if they're just spouting vitriol to start an argument. A skilled troll can destroy a chatroom or forum discussion with one sentence if you let them. Trolls basically wind people up and their success is reliant upon responses. Your best bet is to ignore them. Just hit the block or ban button. Don't post a response, don't acknowledge them, nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
Trolls generally go away once they realize they can't piss you off. They are a pain in the butt, however, they're usually pretty harmless and the only damage they do is superficial(most of the time!). Trolls will go after information they can find online and use it to harass and upset you. It's scary if they find your personal info, so always be careful of what you share on the internet.
Barring trolls finding your personal info, the annoyance generally stops once you turn off the computer.
Trolling can cross over into cyberbullying. There IS a line, but like I said above it's so fine it can be hard to tell one from the other. So what happens when the line is crossed?
Cyberbullies are serious in their intent to make their target's life online a living hell, just as bullies make their target's life a living hell IRL. They don't go away when they've been blocked, they just find ways around it. They attack on a personal level. If they know the target offline, they might use that knowledge to humiliate their victim online, such as taking photos of the victim's mail to make their address public, posting the target's phone number or posting photos of their house, school/place of employment, car, etc.. If it's an ex, nude photos or photos of the target performing sexual acts may be spread online. They could take video of the target being beaten up and post it online for further humiliation. They might stalk all of the target's online activities and harass them that way, forcing them to keep changing profiles or even abandoning sites they love altogether. Some may blackmail their targets into humiliating acts.
For example: A group of boys don't like a girl at school. They hack the girl's personal email, get her on Skype and tell her they'll give the email address back if she shows her breasts--and then taking a screenshot and making it her new Facebook profile picture. They use her email to destroy her public profiles one by one by posting that image wherever they can. They go on to post the same photo in places they frequent, claiming "This chick is easy!" They could go so far as to email all the girl's friends pretending to be her and try to turn them against her. The victimized girl goes to school the next day to random people calling her a whore and treating her like crap.
The damage continues offline. That is why cyberbullies are more insidious than trolls.
So, to summarize:
- A troll basically runs in front of a church service and screams, "You're dumbasses! Kill yourselves!"
- A cyberbully sits down in the pew behind you and whispers in your ear, "You're a dumbass. Kill yourself."
See the difference?