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LOCAL MP, Michelle Donelan has used Children Mental Health Week to push for a crackdown on online abuse.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, she said,“People feel a lot more confident saying things from behind a keyboard than they do to your face.”
Like most MPs, she has faced abuse online and is concerned that this might deter young people from considering a career in politics. She said that this was ‘unacceptable’ and emphasised that on the centenary of women gaining the vote we should be encouraging women and young people to get involved in politics.
The MP stressed that this problem extends beyond people in public life. Cyber-bullying and abuse faced by young people online has been linked to a rise in depression in adolescents and has wider implications for children and young adults’ mental health. As a member of the Education Select Committee, Michelle Donelan has met with her parliamentary colleagues in the Health Committee to push for more action to be taken to tackle online abuse and bullying.
The Prime Minister has announced a review into new legislation to help address this problem. As part of their plans to improve children and young people’s mental health, the Government has also brought forward more than £250m in extra funding to help schools and local communities support access to mental health services.
In supporting further toughening of the rules on online abuse Michelle Donelan said, “It’s vital that those who are responsible for abuse are called out and that social media providers no longer allow this to continue. We need a change in mentality so that the perpetrators of abuse acknowledge that these are real people they are affecting, and I am pleased the Prime Minister is taking action to address this.”