Bullying has been in the news lately, but the revelations about Gordon Brown’s alleged shoving and swearing have diverted attention from other aggressive behavior that is growing and seems to be uncontrolled.
Internet bullying has seen very few trials, but because the daily misery of the victims and may end in suicide.
Social networking sites are popular with young Britons – about half are members, with 5.2 million 13 to 19 years subscribed to Facebook.
It is a great way to exchange news and keep in touch, but the downside can be huge, with one in three say they have been bullied online.
Social networking sites are impossible to police because of the large amount of material, with the result that a large amount of content is highly controversial.
A quick trawl shows how gangs use these sites to post threatening material intended to impress their rivals and scare off opponents.
Stuart Cunningham, Warwickshire, published a photo of himself in a hideous mask, brandishing a large knife in one site.
He is a gang member crew Overslade, in Rugby, where up to six rival gangs vie for territory and a series of fires resulted in the death of an elderly couple.
The Internet is where these bands post their threats and brandishing their weapons, and yet the police seem powerless to do anything about it until someone has been injured.
The Internet allows young people to glorify violence, presenting themselves as “soldiers” in their version of urban warfare and intimidate those who they please.
Rhys Jones was murdered in Liverpool in 2007 by a member of the Croxteth Crew, and five other gang members were convicted.