by Jonathan Rothwell

[LINK] Meeting a Troll

Leo Traynor made an alarming discovery about a person who’d been bombarding him, and his wife, with abuse and appalling death threats—on Twitter, by email, and by post.

It transpired that the abuse had emanated from three separate IP addresses in different corners of Ireland. Two of them were public wifi locations but the third....

The third location was the interesting one.

The third location was a friends house.

The Troll was his son. His 17yr old son.

I know it’s an archetype, but it’s often true. In this case, the person who’d sent a death threat attached to some dead flowers was a mentally unstable teenager, who had become engrossed in conspiracy websites. When confronted in person, at a ‘discreet’ location with his parents, he broke down into tears.

People like this need to learn the consequences of their actions—but is it really worth ruining a teenager’s future by giving them a criminal record?

And let’s be clear: this isn’t trolling. This is abusive stalking. It’s harassment. It’s bullying. But how many teenagers get their lives ruined by a criminal record when they bully other teenagers at school?