Social media resembles the "Wild West" and the Government should consider stepping in to tackle online abuse, an industry expert has said.

Steve Nimmons, a member of the Conservative Technology Forum think-tank, said internet "trolls" appear to believe they can act with impunity on sites such as Twitter.

He has now suggested the Government address digital crime by ensuring children are taught about web responsibility in primary schools.

"Probably one of the first things they need to look at is what they are going to do in terms of education," he said.

"We now live in a post-digital world with a completely open publishing model. There has got to be something the Government can do in terms of driving this into education.

"Why not bring this in at primary level? We are teaching kids about safe use of the web at an early stage in their education.

"There has got to be something in there about appropriate use of the internet and the responsibility that comes with publishing."

Mr Nimmons said abusive behaviour on the web could be "policed up to a point" but highlighted issues of prosecution which could arise between different jurisdictions.

"It is like the Wild West online at the moment, where people feel they can act with impunity," he added.

"I think people need to be taught to think about the long-term implications of what they are saying."