When a teenager takes their own life it's bloody awful... Noteworthy is that the bullying allegedly happened not on Twitter - a company in the press at the moment for their "lack of action" over abuse - but on ask.fm.
No sooner is one platform sanitised than the
kids move to other places to interact.
Instead of the sole focus
being on platforms to deal with abuse we have to do more to equip young
people to deal with the web.
That involves prevention, ie avoid getting
into all-out flame wars in the first place; handling threats and
negative comments; teaching how to hit the off or ignore button and take
a break in the real world; and, in the case of substantive threats to
life, taking up the issue with police.
It's easy to make a noise
and say that social media platforms and web companies "must do more" but
it's a rich and complex problem which cuts through the whole of modern
There is not one simple solution - like censoring/blocking sites that don't take a duty of care - as others will pop up.
not defending the abusers in any way but part of the solution has to be
to help the victims deal with abuse and ignore unsubstantiated threats;
this goes against the current noise being made of late in the
mainstream press - looking for the platforms, police and censorship to
fix the problem - but the web as it is there will always be a way to
upset someone online.
If we want to prevent the level of despair that
leads to suicide we need to teach young people how to (a) limit their
exposure to threats by the platforms they choose to use and the way they interact; and, (b) deal with them when they happen.