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Tom’s Take on Social Media

28 October 2021

It was #GetOnlineWeek, 18 to 24 October, focusing on getting online safely. We know that young people are online more than ever, and that it has huge benefits, but it also offers many challenges and it’s important to take steps to protect yourself online.

Sadly, we know that footballers have recently been on the receiving end of online abuse and trolling and that this subject is never far from the news headlines. We caught up with Tom Holmes, our Charity Ambassador and Reading FC defender, to find out his views on social media and how he protects himself online:

“Fortunately I have not experienced any online abuse, any that I’m aware of that is, as I’m not on Twitter which seems to be the main platform for it. Unfortunately in football, like in many other walks of life, players are subject to a lot of online abuse. I understand that football is entertainment at the end of the day and that it is a game of passionate opinions. A lot of the time though, especially over the last couple of seasons, social media especially Twitter has become quite toxic. Comments aren’t just comments, they have become personal attacks that, because made online, are permanent. This alone for me is enough to just avoid it all together. I’ve always seen Twitter from a young age as something extra and something that could only harm me and my game. I know that I know my game best and the only opinion that I should value and consider when looking at my game is my own. By not exposing myself to it I have found that it is something that I have not had to worry about too much. For anyone that has had bad experiences with it then coming off it is something that I would recommend as it is a simple fix that I have found to help.”

What would your advice be for anyone who experiences online abuse?

“For anyone that has experienced online abuse it is important to first block the account and then report it, but then secondly it is also equally important to talk about it however hurtful or embarrassing it may be. Let one of your family members, close friends or someone at Berkshire Youth know. By not talking about it and looking to stop it, it can be something that may happen again and again which is the last thing anyone would want to happen.”

Berkshire Youth are keen to support young people to stay safe online. We run a Be Internet Citizens course which explores media literacy, critical thinking and digital citizenship. If you experience any issues online, please find support by speaking to a trusted adult or contacting agencies such as NSPCC or CEOP for support.

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