Originally published Friday, January 12, 2018 at 12:51p.m.

That I am old and out of tune with today’s world is indisputable. I read and hear news reports of poor souls being so badly bullied on social media they commit suicide.

I cannot help but wonder, how did social media get to be so hideously poisonous that it kills people? How did, what was supposed to be just a communication tool, become such a vital factor in people’s lives that they place more importance on what is being said on social media than they do on what is happening in the real world immediately around them? How can electronically anonymous ghouls be seen as such a threat that they are given any credence whatsoever? How can parents allow their children to be so heavily swayed by the bullying drivel from some angry cretin that the kid is overwhelmed and sees no hope anywhere? Do the victims of such electronic spew not realize that they can simply turn it off? How mysterious and difficult is that concept? Just turn it off. Parents should be aware of what their kids are experiencing and protect the kids from pain and fear.

All the various iterations of social media have the astounding potential to ease prejudices and to simplify confusions and to clarify thoughtful exchanges. Why, then, has the entire genre been taken over by venomous creatures who have nothing positive to offer the world?

There is not a great deal of difference between social media and the filthy mindless scrawls spray-painted on fences and building walls by “taggers,” except with social media you can instantly blank it out. Just turn it off.

It is unfortunate that the electronic bullies are anonymous and some poor souls find the yammerings on social media to be captivating. If those nasty-minded, mean-spirited bullies were to be face-to-face with their target, they would not have the courage to attack their targets, verbally or physically.

The sad fact about bullies their victims do not realize is that bullies, each and every one of them, are cowards. All bullies are yellow, spineless cowards. They never pick on anyone who is capable of defending themselves. They victimize only those who are weaker, smaller and unable to deal with the mindless hatred of a coward. Bullies are so full of self-hate and self-loathing that they are ceaselessly searching a target on whom to unload their burden of filth. No bully anywhere will stand up to capable opposition. When confronted, either verbally or physically, they either run or cave in and try to laugh off the insults they have delivered.

In the case of electronic bullying, the simplest, easiest and most effective remedy is to simply ignore them. Turn it off. It is tough to be a bully if there is no one willing to pay attention.

Physical bullying is fairly easy to spot and to deal with, but the electronic variety is insidious and pervasive. Still, the best and most effective way to address it is that very simple action of a finger.

Turn it off.

Try it. It works.