While I have spoken on many occasions of the horrific online abuse that myself and many of my colleagues are subjected to, it is indiscriminate and is something that impacts many of our nation’s celebrities, sports stars and public figures – particularly if they are female or part of the BAME or LGBT communities.
Sadly, as we have become more digitally driven and connected, the problems posed by online anonymity and abuse have only increased. Research shows that over 40% of people in the UK are exposed to online abuse, with nearly 20% being personally targeted by abusive content online.
Even our nation’s heroes are not immune to such hurtful rhetoric, and I was deeply saddened to hear about the trolling targeted at Captain Sir Tom Moore and his family. This is a man who has served his country, who has raised millions for the NHS and who truly lifted the spirits of a nation. Despite all of his efforts, him and his family were still subjected to incessant abuse and hate.
Regardless of an individual’s political affiliations, no one deserves to be subject to such horrendous abuse. Not only does it hurt the individual, but it damages our political discourse and ability to debate, and it ultimately damages our democracy as it prevents further engagement in politics.
Now is the time to put a stop to online abuse and trolling.