The pandemic has dramatically increased our relationships with technology.
It has enabled us to stay in contact with our working roles, our friends and loved ones, all while keeping ourselves and others safe during these past 2 turbulent years.
For our most vulnerable, it has proven to be a compromised lifeline and an essential part of our new social worlds.
As an active advocacy group campaigning for change, we are reminded daily of the conflicts that can be born online.
When Chris contacted Fighting For Vulnerable Lives, it was a welcomed opportunity to explore the impacts of these interactions and how we could contribute to the changes we want to see, in some small way.
Chris, an avid aviation enthusiast, was diagnosed with autism while enduring a level of online abuse that had become increasingly intolerable for him.
Without support, this devastatingly, lead him to taking repeated attempts to end his life.
His gratitude still glowing from his words, for an off duty mental health nurse, who had found him in crisis on a motorway bridge.
According to O.N.S:
1 in 5 children experienced some form of Cyber Bullying in 2020. 1 in 4 adults, according to YouGov Polls.
These findings lead us to the question– What’s going on in our virtual landscapes? And how can we protect and conduct ourselves in a way that limits the often-unspoken damage?
Together we developed an accessible graphic called ‘S.A.B.E.R I.T’ ;
A brief outline of steps and reminders for anyone suffering online that can be used freely in schools or workspaces.
We extended our conversation and started to explore what was it specifically, in his most desperate moments that really helped? And could we cultivate this, outside the current limitations of care service provision?
‘To connect yourself to people who will allow you to explore your emotions safely and without judgement’.
That was the foundation.
To have the discipline to Hold Space; An art form which Parker Palmer articulated in this short video:
How do we navigate ourselves in an increasingly volatile and divided world? When do we push for common ground and when do we impose a boundary?
Themes F4VL will be exploring over the coming months.
Chris has gone on to receive a runner up campaigner of the year award, for raising awareness for cyber bullying after his ordeal.
“I’d like to see more of a law taken against threatening and abusive behavior, because you don’t know what that person is going through. You don’t know what could tip them over the edge.”
The online safety Bill quotes:-
“We expect discussion to bring out latest thinking on options for resolving tensions relating to a balance between protections for users – including privacy and the rights of children – along with political discourse, journalism and free expression, as well as implementation challenges of the Bill”
The White Paper can be found here:
“I now give my time and heart and my life experiences to giving back to those in a vulnerable position who are too frightened to stand up or speak out the injustices of bullying”
If you or someone you know is suffering from online abuse, please reach out.
May the force of kindness always be with you.