A couple of weeks ago, I saw a post by the amazing Julie Cole, on the YummyMummyClub site. Please, click the link and go read the page. It won't take you long.
I was saddened but not entirely surprised to read about her horrible experience with a commenter on her site. Trolls are everywhere and have been online as long as the internet has existed. Folks like this, who leave mean, anonymous comments on posts like Julie's are really cowards and bullies. I bet you a million dollars that whoever left that comment, would never have the nerve to say those things to Julie's face if they met her in person. Somehow though, it is easy to be cruel when there are no real consequences.
When kids harrass / stalk / bully each other online, adults often acted surprised. I think that a lot of the time, kids who participate in this behaviour, think it's okay because they see examples of this behaviour in every comments section of every webpage they have ever visited.
This is no different than the kid who is picked on, abused even, at home (by a parent or a sibling) and who lashes out at school against other kids. They are following an example that they have seen played out in their own lives.
I think it's important for all of us, not just those of us who have kids in the house (I don't have any kids in my house) to be good online citizens. I'm not saying you have agree with everything you read but if you're going to disagree, offer an alternative opinion that is thoughtful, not mean. It is easier to be cruel and snippy than it is to take your time and express a different point of view in a rational way.
We don't all have to get along all of the time but I think we can certainly be kind and considerate to each other when we're disagreeing with one another.