SPRING is in the air, the roadmap out of lockdown is underway and the vaccine programme is being rolled out so hopefully, the light is shining brightly at the end of what has been a very long dark tunnel.
We will have all been impacted in some way during what has been a terrible year for many but some worse than others, especially those who have lost loved ones, are still suffering the ill-effects of long COVID and those who have lost their livelihoods.
Spending a lot of time on social media, which is a necessary “evil” of my job, it has become clear there are a lot of angry, anxious and frustrated people out there and with local elections in the air, there have been some very toxic comments in circulation – so now it is time to spring clean the keyboard warriors – often with fake profiles.
Having been on the receiving end of some, which unfortunately goes with the territory, I know only too well how personal insults can impact your mental health.
It is easy to criticise from a keyboard and lash out at those in the community, who are very often just trying to do their best.
Most people involved in public life I have met, do it for the right reasons – to try and make a meaningful difference in their local communities.
Yes, I know there are some career politicians, who are financially rewarded for their endeavours, but the vast majority, especially parish councillors and community volunteers, do it because they want to help people.
Healthy debate and being critical of manifesto policies is one thing, but personal toxic and abusive insults are totally out of order.
Freedom of speech is essential – but allowing people to be abusive and nasty and insulting is something we can do without.
So after a trial period on our Lymm Life Facebook group, we have now decided to include a Zero Tolerance policy on all our Facebook groups and pages that anyone who is abusive to others with personal insults or foul and abusive language will be blocked – and the worst offenders reported to Facebook or even the police if deemed threatening and hateful.
We and the vast majority of like-minded people don’t want these people spouting their poison in our community – no doubt I will be called a dictator by some – but the groups and pages are part of our business – and I believe if all media had similar principles the world would be a better place.
Sadly some of those in high places have not been good role models but having experienced hateful comments myself and knowing others who have been on the receiving end of toxic posts and comments it is time to draw a line in the sand – and hopefully, this article will start the cleansing process.