Rockhampton suburb makes worst online troll list

To send a message to trolls, Tahlia Gook created an image people couldn't ignore.
To send a message to trolls, Tahlia Gook created an image people couldn't ignore.

THEY may hide behind computer screens instead of bridges these days, but the trolls have certainly been out to play in Rockhampton as one of the region's suburbs ranks in the list of the nation's troll hotspots.

Gracemere made the list of the areas of concern in a nation-wide study that used geotagging to identify the worst locations for internet trolls after they posted material on Twitter during the month of June.

An "internet troll" is an individual who posts threatening, offensive or derogatory comments on social media.

The study, conducted by Software development company KevTech Apps, identified the 166 worst offending suburbs in the country, of which Queensland communities dominated the top placements.

The company collected about 1.5 million tweets which were then fed into detection engines to identify content and classification, and compiled a list of offending locations.

Gracemere ranked 145 on the list.

In conjunction with KevTech's research in the UK, the company identified three traits within the most active areas.

All were small regions, with "overwhelmingly" native born populations with below average standards of education.

As a victim of internet trolls herself, Central Queensland schoolgirl Tahlia Gook has spoken out against cyber bullying after an incident with an internet troll.

The 11-year-old Emerald girl decided she "was not going to be the victim", and penned an open letter in a bid to put an end to bullying.

The letter has since reached about 5000 people via Facebook and Instagram.

Tahlia said the silence that surrounded bullying and internet trolls was the "real issue", and she was happy to be the voice for others.

"Some of the things she wrote about me were terrible and made me want to change schools. I cried myself to sleep every night, thinking this is what the world thought of me," she said.

"I woke up a few days later and decided I was not going to be the victim.

"I know I am only a little 11-year-old girl from a small country town, but if my message just reached one person who was ready to hurt themselves and they reached out to me for help, then I know what I am doing is right."

Topics:  cyber bullying rockhampton

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