Editor’s comment: Don’t feed trolls

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WHAT kind of sick individual gets pleasure out of tormenting, harassing or even threatening a child?

The kind that now anonymously haunts the internet, posting vile, degrading comments about anything and everything their mouse clicks over.

Anyone who watched Panorama this week would have seen the tragic consequences so-called ‘trolling’ can have. Merciless sociopaths managed to drive one British teenager to commit suicide by jumping in front of a train, so relentless was their tirade of hate against her. Her parents remained dignified in their unimaginable grief, but even then they were faced with even more horrific abuse by unwanted visitors to the tribute page set up in their daughter’s memory.

This is an extreme case, but it is disturbing to report that the same type of bullying is happening here, in our own community. A teenager posts a home-made music video to a social networking site, only to become the object of ridicule and ultimately crude, often sexually-explicit, rants by an army of misanthropes.

It’s not hard, in today’s celebrity and reality-television-obsessed society, to understand why young people put videos of themselves online, often in the misguided hope of becoming a star. But they leave themselves wide open and vulnerable to attack, largely from faceless cowards hiding behind the safety of an assumed screen-name.

The internet has transformed modern life, heralding in a digital age of instant communication. But with great power comes with great responsibility