Fish bait; what a nasty thing to call some one? Well, when someone is dangling a lure, trying to catch something while trolling, we call what is on the hook fish bait, at least that’s what we call it when they are trolling on a lake, or out on the ocean. Why not call it the same thing when someone is trolling on the internet? In fishing the fish bait is food or something flashy to attract the attention of the target fish; anything to make the fish snap up the hidden hook that allows it to be reeled in.
What kind of fish are the internet trawlers looking for? Many people have heard the stories of the pre-teens that are lured into the clutches of the pedophile through the internet. These are the most disgusting people trolling the internet; disgusting because they are fishing for and catching the most defenseless fish in the internet sea. They are not, however, the only trawlers, and kids are not the only fish in this wide sea. Where ever people gather on the internet, there are people waiting to lure the unsuspecting into their own special traps; traps that allow the fisherman to control parts of their target’s life.
All trawlers use similar tactics. They join groups anonymously when possible or with fake accounts or personalities. They observe, they record the conversations; they become experts on the people that they are tracking. They are looking for specific targets; the pedophile tracks children looking for love and attention; the sexual predator looks for the lonely, the con man looks for the person looking for a quick buck. What ever the target, the internet troll sits and watches, learning all they can about the target. The hook is then fashioned; the trawler introduces themselves as a potential friend, some one with similar outlooks and desires. Dangling the bait in front of the unsuspecting target, the person if pulled closer and closer to the fish bait; bits of their own conversations fed back to them. Finally, the fish bites, the line is jerked and the catch is landed; another person is caught on the virtual line.
How does one avoid the trawler’s hooks? As in the real world, you have to pay attention to your surroundings. It is hard to watch out for some one that is lurking on the internet, so what you have to do is watch out for people coming out of the shadows. You have to be wary of someone that comes out of no where, yet appears to know what has been going on in the group, who knows the threads of the conversations that have been going on, who knows a lot about you. Not all such people are evil, but enough of them are that you need to be careful of letting them too close too quickly.
The most dangerous time is when the trawler separates you from the safety of the group. If you are asked to meet them in the real world, take the same precautions that you would for meeting any new person; meet in a public place with friends by your side or near by. If they are not what they seemed to be on line, get away from them quickly; get to a safe place and then re-evaluate the situation. If the trawler asks for discussions away from the safety of the group, be careful what questions you answer. Initially, at least until you are sure that the new friend is a friend and not someone on an internet troll for victims, do not tell them any thing that you would not say to the group.
If you are careful, and you pay attention to the virtual space around you, you can safely navigate the groups on social networking sites. You can avoid the flashy lures and the fish bait of the internet troll.