Using the internet and your favourite apps can be fun, and the best way to keep in touch with friends and family during this difficult time.
However, it’s not always a fun place, as many of you will know.
A new survey has found that 67% of Irish girls been subjected to abuse or harassment online. That means that two in every three have had a hard time on social media.
This includes things like cyberstalking, being sent explicit images or messages, and/ or abusive and threatening messages and comments.
The survey, from Plan International, found that girls and young women from ethnic minorities, from the LGBTQ+ community, and girls with disabilities reported being more likely to suffer harassment as a result of these intersecting factors.
The average age the abuse starts at in Ireland is 13. Globally, girls as young as 8 face violence online.
A quarter of girls surveyed (who were between 15-24) felt physically unsafe due to the abuse, 65% felt mental or emotional stress, and 75% found their confidence or self-esteem was knocked.
The platforms that girls in Ireland are most likely to experience abuse on are Snapchat (41%) and Instagram (40%) this was followed by Twitter, Facebook and TikTok.
What can I do?
If you are experiencing a hard time, it’s important to speak to a family member of someone you can trust about the abuse. Remember that you can unfollow or block anyone who is being unkind online.
In an attempt to make a change, Plan International has put together an open letter to social media platforms asking for create stronger reporting mechanisms for violence that meet the needs of users and to hold perpetrators to account.
Over 32,000 people have signed the letter, as part of the #FreeToBeOnline campaign. You can too, by adding your name here. Why not get family and friends to sign it too to help to be part of a change?