1 a 1 a Dugals Friday Focus“Pause B4U Post” DGWGO’s Friday Focus

Young people across Scotland are being urged to ‘Pause Before they Post’ material on the internet to ensure they don’t end up with a criminal record or damage to their reputations.
The ‘Pause B4U Post’ campaign has been devised by anti-sectarian charity Nil by Mouth and students from City of Glasgow College. The project seeks to ensure that teenagers are aware of the potential consequences of posting sectarian abuse online.
Stevie Carr from the online TV Channel called Tolerance TV which is based in Kirkcudbright,Dumfries and Galloway has worked with groups from Stranraer to Dumfries, he was recently up in Glasgow filming the launch of the project.
Stevie commented “We are always really happy to work with Nil By Mouth and support the fantastic work that they do to combat sectarianism. We went along to the launch event in Glasgow and produced a short film for them. Young people today communicate with each other using social media all the time. There are inherent dangers for them in using inappropriate sectarian language. It is very easy for them to be traced, charged and reported to the Procurator Fiscal. It is not something that we see too much of in Dumfries and Galloway, but we fully support the message that the Pause B4U Post campaign is putting out there and would welcome the chance to work with any local schools, youth groups, colleges and universities in relation to this issue.”
The campaign targets young people who frequently use social media as their main method of communicating with friends.The images and content created by the team of students will become part of Nil by Mouth’s education programme in schools, colleges and universities across Scotland. It uses highly recognisable images such as the ‘Facebook’ notification screen to highlight the consequences of using sectarian language online. The offender is seen to ‘post a sectarian status’ and then proceeds to be ‘unfriended’, ‘receive reports’ and lastly becomes unemployed.
Posting sectarian and offensive on the internet carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison in Scotland and in recent months there have been a number of high profile cases involving footballers and celebrities including former Celtic Manager Neil Lennon and singer, songwriter Amy MacDonald. In addition to the distress caused to those targeted, this behaviour can have serious consequences for the perpetrator’s reputation and employment prospects.
Nil by Mouth first commissioned research into online bigotry in 2005 and it has become an increasing problem over the past decade. In May the Scottish Government’s Advisory Group on Sectarianism highlighted the growing problem as a key battleground in the war against bigotry.
The ‘Pause B4U Post’ campaign was launched by Nil by Mouth founder and current ‘Scotswoman of the Year’ Cara Henderson and the three City of Glasgow students who created it, Caitlin Wilson, Robert McElhinney and Danielle Short. Ms Henderson set the charity up in response to the brutal sectarian murder of her school friend Mark Scott in 1995.

Nil by Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said:
“This campaign is all about making sure young people are aware that their online actions can have very real consequences in the real world. The internet is a huge part of their lives but sadly we are increasingly seeing people use the internet, and social media sites in particular, to spread hate and bigotry. Having worked with a number of offenders, victims and families over the past few years it’s clear to us that some people do not think there are any consequences for abusing people online not just on the victims but themselves in terms of future career prospects and possible legal action.

Young people are at particular risk as they tend to be the biggest users of social media. That’s why we wanted a group of young people to come up with a campaign to get this important message across and the students involved have really done that in a clever and thought provoking way. This campaign will now become part of our educational programmes, which reached more than 20 local authority areas last year, and show young people just how easy it is to get yourself in serious trouble by sending a tweet from your bedroom.

This campaign will hammer home to people the very real consequences of posting sectarian material online and hopefully encourage them to pause before they post. “
Tolerance TV has supported and filmed a number of both local and national projects who encourage tolerance within their organisations, they are funded by the voluntary action fund and are part of the Stewartry Council of Voluntary Services. If you are interested in viewing the Pause B4U Post film or indeed some of the other tolerance projects you can do so by logging on to www. toleranceuk.tv

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