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Let ’s treat online abuse as a public health hazard | Sonia Sodha

Social media bullying is getting the parliamentary attention it deserves – but politicians must focus on what’s going on behind this toxic behaviourOne of the most important breakthroughs in public health came in1847, when a Hungarian doctor, Ignaz Semmelweis, discovered that surgeons could dramatically cut mortality rates by disinfecting their hands. At the time, he was ridiculed by his medical contemporaries. But today, hand washing remains the cornerstone of lifesaving medical hygiene.I wonder if we ’ve got something important to learn from Semmelweis when it comes to online abuse. Last week, MPs debated anew cross-party report on the rising levels of abuse levelled at election candidates. It found people on all sides of politics being subject to terrible abuse, but particularly women and ethnic minority candidates. While abuse has always been a feature of our politics, there is no doubt it has been turbocharged by the internet and social media.Continue reading...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - Category: Science Authors: Tags: Cyberbullying Internet Society NSPCC whistleblowing advice line: in focus Medical research Science Source Type: news

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