THE BLOG

Trigger Warnings Are Not Used Enough

11/09/2013 13:00 BST | Updated 09/11/2013 10:12 GMT

This contains content that some viewers could find distressing.

It is a phrase we hear often enough on our TV news when they are about to show a clip of something distressing.

However, those same organisations often do not do the same on their online media sources. They put images on Facebook with a brutal description of an event, and once you have started reading or seen the image, it is too late it has happened.

It is not as if you read it and then have to click to open the image on Facebook, it is there at the top of your newsfeed, and the only option to stop it happening is to stop following a news company (which is not very practical).

On Twitter it is a little bit different. If you are using twitter itself rather than an app such as tweetdeck you are okay, to an extent. You just read the headline of the story, but even that can be pretty gruesome.

Huffington Post is itself guilty of doing this. Recently they tweeted about a girl dying from injuries after a man much older raped her. But there was no warning. I tweeted asking if next time they could put a warning in front of the tweet, because it isn't right to put such images into peoples head (especially if somebody has PTSD or has had a similar experience themself).

Sadly, later that day, they tweeted the very same words, with no warning. I fear that again more people could have been triggered by reading what they did.

It is not practical for journalists, bosses of companies and members of the general public to say that if something like that could affect somebody they should not watch, read or follow something. Because, people still need to know news and go about their lives being informed about important things. Plus mainstream organisations do not cover those topics all the time.

I would like to see some sort of regulation or morals involved in this. If news channels can do it, then putting either the words trigger warning or simply TW ( a widely recognised sign for trigger warning) before a post or comment online, would not be too much to ask.

News reporting requires a balance of sensitivity and informing people of what is important. Therefore, yes, these stories do of course need to be published and put in the public domain. However, it is almost as if those standards do not apply when it comes to online, and of course they should. Especially in this multimedia world.