Not wishing to sound like a scratched record as we’ve been down this road many times but at what point do we shout stop when it comes to the issue of bullying and online abuse?
I was moved to tears hearing the parents of 18-year-old Cavan student Eden Heaslip talk this week about the unspeakable trauma their poor boy was put through in the lead up to him taking his own life last month. He was severely bullied in every way possible to the point that he felt he could take no more.
We grow up to know right from wrong, and most of us live our lives knowing that there are boundaries
The question needs to be asked again, how is bullying of this level tolerated in a modern civilised society? What are we doing so wrong that this warped behaviour continues to breathe and cause so much angst and pain?
We grow up to know right from wrong, and most of us live our lives knowing that there are boundaries, legal and moral, outside of which we simply must not stray for fear of severe sanction. So how is it that bullying and its newest form, online abuse, is not met with the sort of zero tolerance we reserve for other forms of abuse against people? It is getting worse.
It would be a stretch to conflate the recent murder of British MP David Amess with online bullying seeing that his murder is being investigated as a terrorist attack. However, the abuse meted out against politicians helping to create an air of menace against them is lending itself to putting public figures in the line of fire.
No public figure, mainstream journalist or politician can post online without being met with a volley of hate, smarminess and provocation
In Ireland, a real nasty narrative against the establishment has embedded itself into online discourse. No public figure, mainstream journalist or politician can post online without being met with a volley of hate, smarminess and provocation. It would make you ashamed to see how low some people go. Social media has helped allow angry people to self appoint themselves as purveyors of the whole of society where only their point of view matters. And there are a few politicians and activists happy to row in behind in the knowledge that they don’t have to make unpopular decisions.
It was so unusual to hear the sacked Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce talk openly about the abuse and name calling he was subjected to
At a lower – but nevertheless concerning – level of provocation on the online spectrum, farmers have become a collective target from certain quarters on a range of issues from the environment to animal rights. Individual farmers refer to it more and more now saying they are becoming demoralised by some of the more sensationalist commentary against what they do for a living.
It was so unusual to hear the sacked Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce talk openly about the abuse and name calling he was subjected to during his time in charge of the football club. Even with a reported £7m compensation package, he still felt shook enough to reveal this proving that not even the fact that he is wealthy soothes the pain of abuse and hatred.
The issue of online trolling and abuse is as much an issue and one nobody seems to be able to grasp how to deal with
There is a major role here for the department of education and whatever legislation is necessary to apply a zero tolerance with sanctions for any form of bullying in school. The issue of online trolling and abuse is as much an issue and one nobody seems to be able to grasp how to deal with when it comes to the hate crimes committed there.
Eden Heaslip’s death must be the catalyst that makes us as a society tackle this scourge once and for all. May he rest in peace.
It never ceases to amaze me how people commenting on COVID-19 regulations complain that the pub or restaurant or shop they were in was full to the brim etc. Yeah, and you were part of it!