Celebrities apologise for offensive tweets

You may have heard about your  ‘digital footprint’- this is the trail or footprint that is left behind whenever you use the internet. The things you post, images shared and things you search for leave a trace that can’t be easily erased. Anyone can do a spot of ‘digital digging’- searching the internet for anything you might have posted, shared or said. Employers and universities sometimes do this to find out more about whether your online reputation matches who you are at interview.

Many celebrities are learning the hard way about how their digital footprint can leave a lasting impression. Celebrities’ tweets- often from years ago- have been dug up and brought into the spotlight. Homophobic comments, bullying language and racist words have caused celebs like Stormzy, Zoella and Jack Maynard to apologise for the things they posted online. Several have  experienced a backlash from fans which could impact their future opportunities.  And it’s not just the individuals  involved who have been impacted. Many people who have read the tweets have been left feeling offended and upset.

It takes less than 30 seconds to post to thousands of people online. You might post a comment or image online because it’s funny, or you want to let others know what’s on your mind. But it’s always worth remembering that the person you are now and things you say online might not reflect who you are in the future. Even in a year’s time, that online rant that seems like a good idea now might feel a little silly. Celebrities like Stormzy and Zoella have spoken about how their views have changed a great deal since they were young. They no longer have the same friends or think the same things they used to. And this is true for anyone.

Most importantly, any views you share that may be offensive can affect how people feel about themselves – and what others think of you – for years to come.

Worried about something you’ve shared? If  you have posted something you regret it’s never too late to take control. Delete your posts, ensure your profile is private and read more about managing your digital footprint here.

Top Tips: Expressing yourself online…

  • Get anger under control.

    Some people post bullying or offensive comments online as they feel angry about an issue. They may disagree with others and feel that lashing out is the way to make a point. Sometimes it’s done to get others to take notice and listen. Childline offer great advice about how to keep anger in check and keep your cool.

  • Don’t be a passive bystander- try being an ‘upstander’…

    If you see posts online that promote offensive and bullying views- you can do something. Report or flag the comment (you can do this anonymously on most social media sites). This lets moderators know that offensive content is being posted. Being an ‘upstander’ means that you take steps to support others online. Put yourself in other people’s shoes and take action when someone is being bullied.

  • Like to share your views and want to debate controversial topics?

    People don’t always agree and  debate is important. It can help us to see from new perspectives, consider other ideas and develop communication skills. There are constructive ways to do this so that people are not targeted or intentionally upset. Moderated forums like The Mix and ChildLine are a place where topics can be debated in a way that is productive and not harmful to others.

Need to talk to someone?

ChildLine

ChildLine is a free helpline for children and young people. You can contact ChildLine about anything. No problem is too big or too small. Whatever your worry, it's better out than in.

ChildLine is a private and confidential service. Confidential means not telling anyone else what you’ve said. This means that whatever you say stays between you and ChildLine.

They would only need to tell someone else if:

•        You ask them to

•        We believe your life or someone else’s life is in immediate danger

•        You are being hurt by someone in a position of trust who has access to other children like a teacher or police officer

•        You tell us that you are seriously harming another young person

Call them on 0800 1111. The number won’t appear on your phone bill.

You can also Childline to speak to a counsellor online.

Share your experiences with other young people

Talk to other young people about your experiences and get support at the ChildLine message boards. There are lots of young people talking about everything from sex and relationships to sport and fashion.

Report it

If someone is trying to use what you've posted online to harm you, or makes you feel uncomfortable, worried or even frightened online you should tell an adult you trust, or report to CEOP. Whatever may have happened you won’t be in trouble.

CEOP

CEOP helps young people who are being sexually abused or are worried that someone they’ve met is trying to abuse them.

If you’ve met someone online, or face to face, and they are putting you under pressure to have sex or making you feel uncomfortable you should report to CEOP.

This might be someone:

•        Making you have sex when you don’t want to

•        Chatting about sex online

•        Asking you to meet up face to face if you’ve only met them online

•        Asking you to do sexual things on webcam

•        Asking for sexual pictures of you

•        Making you feel worried, anxious or unsafe

If this is happening to you, or you’re worried that it might be, you can report this to CEOP.