10 September 2015

Nil by Mouth founder Cara Henderson helps City of Glasgow College student Danielle Harris launch the campaign
Nil by Mouth founder Cara Henderson helps City of Glasgow College student Danielle Short launch the campaign

Young people across Scotland are being urged to ‘Pause Before they Post’ material on the internet to ensure they don’t end up in trouble.

The ‘Pause B4U Post’ campaign has been devised by anti-sectarian charity Nil by Mouth and students from City of Glasgow College and seeks to ensure that teenagers are aware of the potential consequences of posting sectarian abuse online.

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 language 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. 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.

‘Pause B4U Post’ was launched today in Glasgow’s George Square by Nil by Mouth founder and current Evening Times ‘Scotswoman of the Year’ Cara Henderson and the three students who created it; Caitlin Wilson, Robert McElhinney and Danielle Short

Caitlin Wilson, Robert McElhinney and Danielle Short help Cara launch their campaign
Caitlin Wilson, Robert McElhinney and Danielle Short help Cara launch their campaign

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.

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 and show young people just how easy it is to get yourself in serious trouble by sending a tweet from your bedroom, for example. We want this campaign to hammer home to people the very real consequences of posting sectarian material online and hopefully it will encourage them to pause before they post.”

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For further information please contact Dave Scott, Campaign Director