This aggression is of course facilitated by anonymity, because many of the wild statements come from usual mild-mannered and thoroughly rational people. That anonymity is also at the root of dangerous online bullying, bullying that too often has the most lethal consequences.
An expert on anti-bullying, James O’Higgins Norman, director of the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre at DCU, has suggested that we need to re-educate our children about the appropriate use on online social media. This may seem a Sisyphean challenge, especially the internet’s evolution seems to offer more and more opportunities for individuals to remain anonymous.
A good first step would be treating sites that allow people to hide behind invented names with the greatest suspicion.