Online bullying is having all too real consequences.
Online bullying is having all too real consequences. contributed

OPINION: There's a dark side of the internet

THE online world can be a scary place.

Local woman Carly Clark found this out when a case of mistaken identity led to her receiving thousands of vile threats from all over the world just because she shares a name with a woman in the US.

The American Carly Clark had made claims that she'd punch women who breastfed in front of her. That woman has nothing at all to do with the Carly Clark living a normal life here in the region.

But it didn't stop the sickening threats flooding in. The protagonists didn't even bother to check they had the right woman before unleashing their deplorable rage.

All over the world, online vitriol is starting to bubble over into reality with horrifying consequences.

In the US, an online hoax trend known as "swatting” led to the death of a man at the hands of police - a fellow online gamer had tracked down his details and directed police to his house claiming he was a deranged gunman. He was shot dead when he opened the door.

Then there's the constant and heartbreaking tales of lives lost to online bullying, with some victims aged in the single digits.

The world's leaders and social media giants owe it to all of us to work out a better plan.

Someday, the online space will be where it should be - a civil and intellectual platform free from bullying and danger.

Right now, we're still in the equivalent of the wild west and that needs to change sooner rather than later.



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