Flaming is an abuse technique that bullies often use in various online forums. Flaming also occurs on social media sites, personal blogs, chat rooms, email groups and famous video sites such as YouTube. Bullies often use the Internet to intimidate, insult and confuse people because they do not have to reveal their identities to do such. Children who use the Internet to browse or perform studies are vulnerable to having run-ins with these people, who are often referred to as cyber bullies. Flaming is one of the top five abuse tactics that bullies use to torment their victims.
What is Flaming?
Flaming is another word for a written version of verbal, emotional and even sexual abuse. The flamer writes content that will invoke certain emotions and responses such as rage, sadness, humiliation, self-doubt and more. Some flamers seek out people who are enthusiastic about certain subjects, and they intentionally bash the subject. Some flamers intentionally start arguments about any topic. Most of the time, they have no valid reason for arguing, and they will often get defensive if anyone challenges their flames. The second email or comment from a flamer usually involves profanity and personal insults. The flamer may put down someone’s race, gender, sexual orientation, economic status and more.
Many flamers prey on Internet users who seem vulnerable. If the flamer can find out any personal information about a target, then he or she will use it to cause that person additional distress. Anyone can fall victim to a bully who flames. They will try to attack anyone who spends time in the Internet world. Negative reactions fuel flamers the most because they know that they have upset other people. Their Intent is to wreak havoc on the lives of innocent people.
Who Are Flamers?
Many flamers are troubled high school children who do not have a support system at home. They may be frustrated with their grades or the pains that come with growing up. They may be victims of abuse themselves. Using the Internet to attack people may give flamers a sense of control that they do not have in their living environment.
Sometimes flamers are child predators who use the Internet because of its anonymity. These flamers will often play on a victim’s innocence and manipulate him or her into reacting a certain way. A child predator flamer may abuse a victim and then apologize, creating a vicious cycle of abuse with a child.
Flamers come in all ages and races. Racial, religious and political flamers are people who have unpopular beliefs that would be questioned, challenged and perhaps legally punished in the physical world. They find great joy in forcing those views on other people who are having a pleasant time online. These flamers will express their desires to abolish an entire race of people, and they may make repetitive stereotypical statements that are not true in real life. Political flamers spout hatred about opposing political parties or current political figures. Religious flamers bully people who are not members of their organizations.
How to Recognize Flaming
An unsuspecting victim may not immediately recognize flaming. Many flamers wait until they get a person to engage in conversation before they attack. Some of them come right out with sweltering e-abuse, but other flamers are calm and calculating at first. It is easier to spot an angry and impulsive flame attempt because it is transparent. Any e-mail, message, or comment that has senseless profanity and insults in it is most likely a flame. Not all flames are that simple, however. A talented flamer can break a person’s heart with the use of non-profane words. The best way to tell if one is being flamed is to evaluate the internal feelings that arise after reading the text.
Internet communication should be painless and enjoyable. Anyone who feels depressed, anxious or angry after reading some text is mostly likely the victim of cyber bullying and flaming. Anyone who feels the strong need to defend himself or herself after reading some text may be playing right into a flamer’s hands. Flamers seek attention. It does not matter if the attention is positive or negative, as long as they occupy someone else’s time and get a reaction.
How to Deal With a Flamer
The best way to deal with a flamer is to ignore that person the minute the flaming becomes apparent. Internet bullies will usually leave a site and go elsewhere if they cannot get anyone to engage in an argument with them. Some flamers appear to be extremely persistent, but they may be doing it because they have previously extracted emotional output from a victim. They will usually give up if they do not get what they need after two or three attempts to do such.
Some trolls are determined to stir up trouble and chaos. Forum and website members have several options for relief. Many websites, blogs and IM programs have the blocking feature integrated into their systems. A person who is being harassed by a troll or flamer can block that person so that he or she does not have to read any annoying content. A victim can report flaming to a moderator or a webmaster. People who suffer bullying on social media platforms can report the person’s username. A moderator or website will usually ban a user if the victim shows significant example of flaming abuse.
Getting Help for Flaming
People who suffer Internet abuse need support. They need to know that they are not alone in their struggles. More than 60 percent of schoolchildren are bullied, and some of it is through electronic means. Over 25 percent of teens have received hurtful text messages and emails. Flaming is a very real problem that must be covered by parents to their children. Online help is avaible for victims and people who want to learn techniques to avoid and handle flaming. Victims can even read stories from other abuse survivors about their experiences with acts such as flaming.