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Social Media and Terror Attacks

Social Media and Terror Attacks

The National Health Service has put out new guidelines regarding the use of social media in the immediate aftermath of a terror attack. In addition to people opening themselves up to unpleasant and cruel abuse over the posts, it also can lead to people reliving the most horrific parts of the event. This can also lead to disclosures which they might not have made if they were not in such a vulnerable and emotional state. This reliving can cause significant mental distress and lead to difficulties down the road in the victim overcoming what had occurred.

Trauma is a particularly difficult thing to work with, as people all experience trauma in their own way. Additionally, we all have different levels of resilience. This means that for some people publishing social media posts regarding an event can be therapeutic for others it can open wounds that are very difficult to heal.

We live in an Information Age where events can be reported on literally within minutes of their occurrence and social media is part of this drive for information. Having worked with people after the Manchester attacks, I cannot help but agree with the NHS when it comes to the use of social media in this regard. At best, it is a mixed blessing, at worst it can cause more trauma which requires more work in order to overcome.


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