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When Trolling Goes Too Far, Consequences Emerge

According to the Brisbane Times, a man has been jailed for 7.5 months and has five more to go before he is released. What was he jailed for? Trolling on Facebook. Now, when we think about trolling, we are usually thinking about the milder form of some guy using really dry humor to get a rise out of people. I’ll even admit to having trolled a few times over Internet forums because I find nothing wrong with dry humor, except that it sometimes annoys other people.

However, 29-year-old Paul Hampson, the man who was jailed, took “trolling” to the extreme when he defaced the Facebook profiles of two dead children. On one of the profiles he wrote “woot I’m dead” over the image of a dead 12 year old boy. He also morphed a photo of the boy’s face inside a woodchipper, making it seem that blood was coming out of the machine. On the other profile he wrote sexually explicit comments implying that he was the one who raped and killed the eight-year-old girl. The twisted individual went under an alias of a classmate he had gone to school with as a child. When accused Paul Hampson was investigated further, authorities found almost 200 images of victimized children. Hampson pleaded guilty to distributing child exploitation material, using the Internet to menace and harass. The Judge, Kerry O’Brien sentenced him to three years of jail time but ordered that he be released after serving only 12 months. Hampson will be out this September. Check out the video below to see examples of trolling.

This article from the Brisbane Times got me thinking, can a milder form of trolling lead to people completely “crossing the line.” Or, are there just some individuals who don’t know where that line is drawn, and would have crossed it anyways, even without the Internet? I’m interested to know your thoughts on this, please post in the comments section and tell us what you think!

Photo Courtesy of Hynkle
Photo Courtesy of Laughing Squid
Photo Courtesy of babyben