Think before you post nasty comments on social media - Gareth Ellis

The world of social media has come under scrutiny again after the tragic death of Caroline Flack.

Hull's Gareth Ellis.

In rugby league, and sport in general, you do see plenty of vitriolic things being posted on social media which has sort of become the biggest media of all.

As players, you can see both sides of it; sometimes, when you are playing well you get all the love, support and accolades and people essentially patting you on your back.

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Yet just as quickly, if you or the team are not performing, that can soon be the other way and there can be some horrible stuff put out there.

It is almost as if the person writing it has no idea of the damage it can cause.

Also, often they are nameless and faceless, sat hidden behind a keyboard knowing they will never see or meet the person they are hurling the abuse at.

I Tweeted a message I saw the other day which I felt summed things up: ‘Social media has made too many of you comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the mouth for it’.

I think that is the case; people would never say in person some of the things they say on social media sites and they almost becomes aliases.

In fact, I think some get to the point where they just post what they think people want to read so it’s not even their own viewpoint.

There are so many people wanting to emulate what celebrities do and gain that lifestyle yet – in reality – what that life is like could be miles different of how it is portrayed.

We had somebody in from Sporting Chance just last week talking about depression and how he could hide it and hide it from people before finally getting to grips with it.

There will be plenty of people in that position but some might not get the help they need.

It is so important to think before you write; if you have nothing positive to say, don’t say anything at all.

To know Caroline Flack felt so low that she would take her own life, it is another warning about the negative effects social media can perhaps play.

Some people can deflect it all quite easily and are not fussed by what people are saying or posting about them. But for those not as strong, who may be more fragile, it can be really difficult.

They may dwell on it. They might struggle more with it.

They may go over and over it and not be able to forget about what that faceless person is saying. It does make you think about your own children and what they will be reading and accessing on social media.

I had it at Hull when I first arrived and was out injured.

There was one person who really posted some horrible, vindictive stuff. It did actually annoy me at the time – and it turned out it was a young girl.

I should not have been too bothered about the comments but I was down in the dumps at getting injured in my first game anyway and that compounded it.

In fairness, nowadays I don’t read as much. I don’t go on there too often as that is another problem; how long you spend trawling through posts.

Before you know it, a quick look on your phone has suddenly turned in to an hour of your time having passed.

It is a common trap to fall into and it is easily done.

Let’s hope people can start seeing some common sense and hopefully attitudes can change for the better.