First News - - Big News - by Ben Puls­ford

POST­ING an abu­sive tweet should be treated just as se­ri­ously as shout­ing abuse at some­one.

That’s what pros­e­cu­tors who bring cases to court in Eng­land and Wales are be­ing told in new guide­lines.

The Crown Prose­cu­tion Ser­vice (CPS) says that hate crimes car­ried out on so­cial me­dia should be taken as se­ri­ously as of­fences in the real world. They ex­plain that “the in­ter­net and so­cial me­dia in par­tic­u­lar have pro­vided new plat­forms for of­fend­ing be­hav­iour”, mean­ing there’s a rise in abuse on so­cial me­dia.

The CPS changed their rules af­ter see­ing a rise in cases of racism and trans­pho­bia (a ha­tred of some­one who iden­ti­fies as a dif­fer­ent gen­der to the one they were born with) in Eng­land and Wales.

The NSPCC (Na­tional So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to Chil­dren) says one in four chil­dren have ex­pe­ri­enced some­thing up­set­ting on a so­cial net­work­ing site.

Lots of chil­dren and young peo­ple feel they can’t tell any­one about bul­ly­ing on­line be­cause they feel ashamed or guilty. They may not even re­alise that it is abuse.

If some­thing is up­set­ting you on­line, it’s so im­por­tant to tell an adult you trust so they can help put a stop to it. If you’re ever up­set by some­thing you’ve read or re­ceived on­line, con­tact Childline on 0800 11 11.

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