Online abuse is a complex issue with no easy answer, but we can all take steps to rid the world of trolls. First, stop using the word, and get real. Be compassionate, caring, and kind towards each other. Let's all live by the The Golden Rule of Twitter - tweet others as you would like to be tweeted yourself.
In 2013, my own kids just have to be able to scroll back far enough on my Facebook Timeline to see exactly the last time I got horrendously drunk and allowed someone to tag a picture of me (or was too pie-eyed to stop them), or to see me mouthing off about something, dropping the F-bomb all over the place.
On the issue of bullying, social media allowed bullies to change tactics, and with less risk involved. Psychological bullying came to the forefront, with Facebook Groups, pages and live chats all available for vulnerable kids to be targeted. Parents wrote social media off as a "fad" or a "trend" and the majority of them - through no fault of their own - left their kids to it.
The internet is everywhere, and you can't realistically shelter your kids from the online world in entirety. The local news even discusses social media and encourages viewers to go online for more information, and schools are relying more and more on the Internet for research and even independent student projects.
For a long while within the IWF we've debated whether it is right for us to engage with teenagers. But the facts speak for themselves - young people under 18 are viewing adult content. Surely if we ignore this, we put them at risk by not providing them with the information they need to report these images?
Yesterday was the 10th international Safer Internet Day, the day to create awareness about online safety issues - there are lots of great resources being publicized for anyone who uses the internet. Of course there are plenty of basic resources available to protect internet users and students of all ages.
When identifying the purpose of introducing this filtration then I have to wonder, what it could be? The government is right to take a stance on the protection of our children, a sentiment I whole-heartedly endorse, but it seems this time the thought process behind the decision is somewhat inconclusive