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.