The tragic death of Caroline Flack on 15th February 2020 has prompted a nationwide reevaluation of digital social responsibility. Once again, trolling and cruel click-bait articles were a precursor to the sudden suicide of a public figure. Social media is full of negativity, criticism and bullying, and it is every individual's duty to put this culture to an end. We need to boost each other up, not tear people down. You never know what is going on behind someone’s screen.
The public are reflecting on Caroline’s poignant Instagram caption from late last year:
‘I certainly hate talking about my feelings. And being a burden is my biggest fear...I’m lucky to be able to pick myself up when things feel shit. But what happens if someone can’t. Be nice to people. You never know what’s going on. Ever.’
#BeKind is now trending- a welcome change in social media content, but it feels somewhat retrospective and bitter sweet.
Laura Whitmore, Caroline’s friend, gave a moving speech on her weekly BBC Radio 5 live show:
“To the press, the newspapers, who create clickbait, who demonise and tear down success, we’ve had enough...I’ve seen journalists and Twitter warriors talk of this tragedy and they themselves twisted what the truth is…Your words affect people. To paparazzi and tabloids looking for a cheap sell, to trolls hiding behind a keyboard, enough.”
There are now calls amongst celebrities and the public for the government to create a new law, prosecuting media intrusion. Whether this happens or not, something has to change. We cannot live in such a cruel culture. Let's stop fuelling hate: avoid click-bait, do not leave mean comments online, and spread kindness.
Suicide happens every day. In the UK, suicide rates among young people have been increasing in recent years. The suicide rate for young females is now at its highest rate on record. This issue is far broader than celebrity-media culture.
If you are struggling, reach out. And if you notice a friend in need, be there for them and signpost. Talk about feelings, and seek help.
The number of the 24 hour Samaritans helpline is 116 123.
By Grace Proctor
Let's Reset, Content Editor