THE internet and social media have brought an endless list of benefits and positive possibilities.

In many cases, friends have been brought together, yet in others, enemies have moved even closer.

Aside from the opportunities to share pictures, videos and laughs, there is a toxic side to the communication which has more and more victims as the weeks pass.

In three years, Lancashire Police received almost 800 complaints about abuse involving social networking sites.

And former footballer Stan Collymore thrust the subject into the national media yesterday by accusing police of failing to do enough to punish ‘internet trolls’.

Anyone with an active social media account will have probably experienced abuse themselves or seen others on the receiving end of it.

But there’s a distinct line between internet ‘banter’ and unrepeatable abuse which, if said in any other arena, would leave the perpetrator liable to prosecution, something police must look to impose more readily.

The problem is that the digital revolution is accelerating at such a rate that the legislative processes can’t keep up but governments need to start getting their act together to get a grip on all of the abusers.