I’m sure you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that the doors to talking about online trolling has been opened, but in case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s the low down.
Last week the BBC released a documentary with Jesy Nelson about her experience being in Little Mix and the trolling that has been a result of her fame in the girl band. The documentary touches on the hordes of online abuse that the singer has received and the effects it has had on her mental health.
Like so many of you, I’m sure, the documentary sickened me.
And this feeling in the pit of my stomach didn’t go away the entire hour I was watching.
I think seeing the effects of online comments and mentions is why I feel so uncomfortable watching love island. This year I struggled so much to watch the show – not because of the contestants or the cringey fights but because of what I saw online after every episode.
What someone may have thought was a clever or funny tweet, could be a contributing factor to someone ending their life.
The reality of these seemingly harmless tweets is sickening to my stomach.
A tweet that threw me over the edge was an individual who tweeted that Curtis was so cringey, it’s put them off sex for life…. or something along those lines.
It certainly wasn’t the worst tweet I had seen and the girl had just posted it thinking it was a witty, funny and a bit sarcastic. But to tell you the truth, I saw it and saw red.
Imagine reading a comment about yourself that someone finds you so disgusting, you’ve put them off having sex.
And I think the main issue with social media is these people can’t be held accountable for their actions. I loved seeing what Amber’s best friend did while managing her social accounts- by replying to all the comments and calling them out for their abuse. 9/10 of the replies were apologies. It was quite liberating to see.
But Jesy’s experience with trolling really did break my heart. To see someone so confident and full of life to have been squashed into a self-conscious, self-loathing girl. And all because someone made a nasty comment they thought was funny. A nasty comment they thought she would never read. A nasty comment they can never be held accountable for how it made her feel. How it made her want to end her life.
The main takeaway from the documentary is that regardless what you think, anything you put on social media is permanent. Even if you don’t tag them, they’ll find it. Even if you think they won’t ever see it, they will. Even if you later delete the evidence, it’ll be embedded in their brain.
I hope going forward, we can all start being a little kinder online. We can stop trying to put others down for a few likes. We can acknowledge that what we say affects someone. We can be held accountable for our words and our actions.
And above all, we can just be bloody kind.