Banning social media wouldn't have saved Dolly


One of the many abusive messages sent to Katelyn Simpson via an anonymous Snapchat account. Picture: Russell Simpson Source:Facebook

SINCE the tragic death of 14-year-old Amy “Dolly” Everett, I’ve been hearing a chorus of increasingly shrill voices calling to ban kids from social media. Ban specific apps! Ban social media platforms! I’ve even seen a petition.

Some of these calls come from child psychologists who you’d think would know their stuff.

However, what’s clear to me as a cyberhate expert and trolling target is that these psychologists may know about children, but they don’t understand cyberhate. And they are suggesting Band-Aid solutions for what is, in effect, a complex wound.

Let’s be clear. The problem of bullying and harassment — whether online or offline — isn’t caused by social media. It’s caused by human behaviour. The trolls hounding Katelyn Simpson in the wake of Dolly’s death and telling her “it should’ve been you not her” are real people sitting behind a keyboard somewhere.

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