Influencer Chessie King reveals extent of online trolling to raise awareness of cyberbullying

The influencer revealed she received hateful comments about her appearance every day

Rachel Hosie
Thursday 12 April 2018 12:19 BST
Influencer Chessie King reveals extent of online trolling to raise awareness of cyberbullying

Personal trainer and body positive influencer Chessie King has revealed the extent of online trolling she receives on a daily basis in a bid to raise awareness about cyberbullying.

In an Instagram story posted on April 11, King worked with a team of digital experts to create content in response to genuine negative comments she received from online trolls.

Starting with a post of King in her underwear, she then revealed a nasty comment she received in response and digitally altered her face and physique as per the troll’s recommendation.

This continued with King’s appearance becoming more and more distorted with every comment, until she ultimately barely resembled a human at all.

Comments included “She so fatty,” “Girls shouldn’t lift weights, your arms are wayyyyyyy too big,” “Your legs are soooooooooo big it’s the worst” and “You’re ugly, your face is still ugly.”

The online campaign was created with cyberbullying charity The Cybersmile Foundation and it received over 150,000 views in the first 12 hours after being posted.

Although Instagram stories only last for 24 hours, King’s story will be saved as a Highlight on her Instagram page for a month.

And King says she wasn’t expecting the campaign to have as big an impact as it has: “The response has been phenomenal, overwhelming even!” she told The Independent. “It’s incredible how much of an impact it’s had on people.

“A lot of big influencers that have suffered with hate and online trolling have reached out and thanked me for using my platform to spread the message. It’s such a powerful campaign, the more people that see it, the more people it will help.”

But it’s not just influencers like King, who has 327,000 followers, who experience trolling.

According to The Cybersmile Foundation research, girls are nearly twice as likely to have witnessed incidents of cyberbullying than boys, with more than 60 per cent of girls saying they had seen the most online abuse on Facebook.

More than 40 per cent of UK secondary or high school children have been exposed to online abuse and one in four have suffered repeated incidents. What’s more, cyber bullying can often lead to depression, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, self-harming, social isolation and, in the worst cases, suicide.

The concept for the campaign was created pro-bono by London-based creative agency adam&eveDDB, which has created some of the UK’s best-loved adverts including the John Lewis and Waitrose Christmas campaigns.

King said: “I’m working with Cybersmile as this campaign is spreading such an important message. Trolling can affect anyone, from a 16 year old who has 100 followers to a celebrity who has over 1 million followers and these can have extreme consequences.

“I have been through an exceptional amount of trolling these past six months since I’ve opened up more about my life on my Instagram platform and this has attracted such negativity from trolls and haters.

“Trolling is such an important issue to tackle because people cannot get away with hiding behind a computer or a phone saying things they most likely would never say to someone face to face and this needs to stop.

“I feel a huge responsibility online but especially to spread the word offline and protect people who are getting trolled. It is a form of bullying and it cannot carry on.”

And Dan Raisbeck, Co-Founder of The Cybersmile Foundation, added: “Body image is a huge issue for many people, especially young women. We hope this campaign helps people to understand that other people’s judgements do not define them and to celebrate their individuality.”

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