New Play Shines Light on Keyboard Warriors

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City of Glasgow College Students remind us that posting on the internet isn't as private as people think and can easily become a public matter
City of Glasgow College Students remind us that posting on the internet isn’t as private as people think and can easily become a public matter

March 1st 2016

A new play shining a light on the murky world of online bigotry is to be performed in Glasgow next week.

Warrior’ written by Jennifer Adam, and performed by Black Dingo Productions tells the story of Evan, a teenage boy whose decision to post sectarian abuse online has serious consequences for his family. It will be run at the Citizens Theatre from Thursday 10th – Saturday 12th March. The play will also receive a special performance in front of Kelvin College students in Easterhouse in conjunction with Nil by Mouth.

Last year Nil by Mouth sponsored performances of the play in schools across Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian with the aim of raising awareness of the legal consequences of online abuse. 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 singer Amy McDonald and Celtic captain Scott Brown. In addition to the distress caused to those targeted, this behaviour can have serious consequences for the perpetrator’s reputation and employment prospects.

In response to this growing problem last September the charity’s founder Cara Henderson launched its ‘Pause B4U Post’ campaign in conjunction with City of Glasgow College. The campaign targets young people and seeks to highlight the consequences of using sectarian language online.  Nil by Mouth first commissioned research into online bigotry in 2005 and it has become an increasing problem over the past decade. The Scottish Government’s Advisory Group on Sectarianism highlighted the growing problem as a key battleground in the war against bigotry.

Nil by Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said:
‘Warrior’ contains a very powerful message and it had a very positive reception from teenagers in particular when we toured it last year. This is a clever and much needed play which pulls no punches. It also moves the debate away from football which can often dominate public debate on sectarianism in Scotland. Last year a survey of 1,300 young adults, conducted by marketing agency Digital Clarity, found that 16% of the 18- to 25-year-olds 16% admitted to spending over 15 hours a day online and, sadly, we are seeing people use the internet, and social media sites in particular, to spread hate and bigotry.

We have been working with a number of offenders, victims and families over the past few years and what become very clear is that people do not think there is any consequences for abusing people online. It’s also astonishing how many people use words they don’t even understand. We hope ‘Warrior’ plays to packed houses every night as it contains very important message – online activities have very real consequences.‘