How to stop your child becoming an internet troll, according to an expert

An expert who studies the murky world of internet trolls says they each have one thing in common.

Ginger Gorman, author of Troll Hunting, has spent years researching the social media underworld, including the lives of some of the world's darkest online personas.

"The predator trolls in my book are connected to terrorism, they're connected to murder, they're connected to domestic violence, they're connected to real-life stalking and they're connected to incitement to suicide - and that's just for starters," Gorman told The Project.

"They are in big international syndicates and they often go out to target people."

What Gorman's research revealed was that all of these people shared a similar upbringing.

"Most of these trolls... described a childhood to me that was quite deprived, quite impoverished, quite neglectful and one of the key things was that the internet was their parent.

"From the age of about 10 [they] are completely left alone online, babysat by the internet, and they're imbibing hatred from the cesspits of the internet."

The trolls Gorman spoke to were all active on websites such as Reddit, 4chan and 8chan  places where hate speech is commonplace.

"They're imbibing all kinds of things like misogyny, white supremacy, other kinds of hatred and they get radicalised into trolling.

"And in the case of the Christchurch killer and a number of other trolls in my book, they take it further and become terrorists."

Indeed, when the mosque shootings occurred, Gorman says it was no shock to hear about the alleged gunman's background. She had even warned in her book, released in February, that an attack just like it was imminent.

"When it came out about the [alleged] Christchurch killer, that his grandmother said he was alone on the internet, it wasn't surprising to me," Gorman said.

"He is almost an archetypal predator troll, as well as a terrorist."

Gorman believes the rise of dangerous internet trolls is clearly the result of bad parenting - most notably that some are letting the internet raise their children.

"We just need to parent our kids differently."