Home Politics and Debate
Exciting news! Join our watch club and get free access to NOW for 1 month

The Trigger debate

**helen****helen** Mod malarkistPosts: 9,235 Listening Ear
Rears its head again...

BBC has published an interesting article:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-ouch-26295437

Where do you stand?

You guys have made me quite vocal about this over the years, so I know there lots of strong opinions out there!
«1

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Although I'm very much in favour of trigger warnings, I do sometimes feel that they are double-edged sword. Although they are great in the way that they can prevent people from potentially being triggered, I understand that you can't cover every base. I get triggered by people wearing orange fleeces, but thats a really random trigger. I think the common things - self harm, abuse, violence, suicide etc should always carry a warning, regardless of if its on these boards or if its on TV. It gives people back control over their mental health, they can choose to carry on reading/watching/listening or not and avoid the trigger. I know some people feel avoidant behaviour isn't good in the long term and people should face their fears, but at the same time there are people who have to see their fears every day in flashbacks and every night in nightmares. If they can control the possiblity of them being triggered just a small amount I know I would be feel much better.

    Sometimes I carry on reading or watching but if I'm given a warning I can prepare myself and often I then don't get triggered by it I can just take a deep breath and carry on. But without them I can be taken unaware and feel really freaked out and out of control of whats going on in my head. Any one who has had flashbacks can tell you it can sometimes feel not just like you're back in that moment but sometimes worse because you feel you're going mad. I know I've been sick after flashbacks and for me they got so made they triggered non-epileptic seizures which just added insult to injury.

    I think everyone needs to become more aware of no only looking after their own mental health but also enabling others to do so and changing small things which can make a big difference for others.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm against them for a number of reasons.

    I think that people should take responsibility for what they post on the internet, especially when it involves a community like ours. And consider the potential effect it could have on other people. I think sometimes people feel like a trigger warning is a way to disregard this. On the flipside, I think that people need to be responsible for themselves and their own responses and actions.

    In my head there are 3 scenarios.
    1) Really graphic content. Stuff like pictures of self-harm or graphic descriptions of the act of self-harm. Shouldn't need a trigger warning, because shouldn't be in the places where people are trying to seek support in the first place.
    2) Personal triggers. Triggers are personal - so it's impossible to know what triggers other people so how can we label them?
    3) Post titles or at least the start of a post tend to indicate the nature of what is being said. If you're not happy with it, stop reading.

    I hate the word trigger to be honest. I've learnt the hard way - and when it comes to changing the way I think or stopping negative behaviours, the responsibility lies with me. I need to make a choice, and a damn good effort not to let something I see on the internet change my mood or contribute to me doing something bad.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    But how can you make the choice if you're not informed? Major common triggers can be on all manner of TV programs, films etc. So what do you do, just not watch, read or listen to anything?

    I agree with the whole people using is as an excuse for post content which isn't acceptable here, but I think theres still a need for trigger warnings on the boards because people need to vent and be able to say what they are going through and theres only so much self moderation you can do before you end up feeling like you might as well not post, because what you need to say could trigger people.

    And as for just stopping reading, often its too late by the point you've already read half of it! Life affects us, regardless of how much effort we put into avoiding things we know trigger us!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    But how can you make the choice if you're not informed? Major common triggers can be on all manner of TV programs, films etc. So what do you do, just not watch, read or listen to anything?

    I was just talking about posts on here I guess. I think TV programmes etc should have warnings about specific content but not "trigger" warnings.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That's kind the same thing though surely?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    That's kind the same thing though surely?

    I don't think that saying "the following programme contains content on suicide and self-harm" is the same as "TRIGGER-WARNING - some people may be 'triggered' by the content of this programme".

    Part of the problem is what the word 'trigger' implies in my opinion.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I kinda agree with ysh.

    That said, I would prefer that they were overused than under used. While the title of a post should give an indication of the content of a thread, it often doesn't, or does in a way that could be triggering in itself. If I see stuff like that I'll usually flag it with a mod.

    Also, I kinda wish someone had put a content warning on the new Carrie movie. While I knew it was likely to be graphic, I wasn't expecting self harm scenes and I struggled with that a lot.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Tbh, I would have thought that would be something the BBFC would take up! Petition?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    Although they are great in the way that they can prevent people from potentially being triggered, I understand that you can't cover every base. I think the common things - self harm, abuse, violence, suicide etc should always carry a warning, regardless of if its on these boards or if its on TV. It gives people back control over their mental health, they can choose to carry on reading/watching/listening or not and avoid the trigger. I know some people feel avoidant behaviour isn't good in the long term and people should face their fears, but at the same time there are people who have to see their fears every day in flashbacks and every night in nightmares. If they can control the possiblity of them being triggered just a small amount I know I would be feel much better.

    This. I completely understand that every little thing can't have a trigger warning, but as Miss_Riot says, the most common issues, whether on TV or the internet, should most definitely have trigger warnings.

    There's a point in the article which annoyed me a little.. 'if someone is feeling particularly grim, they might search out triggers because they want a nudge... which is obviously not so positive'.
    I can't speak for anyone else so I'm not saying that this shouldn't have been said, it just annoyed me personally. I know that I'd never do this because if I'm feeling 'particularly grim', I don't need to read about things to make me harm - I have the urge so I do it. What annoyed me about it though is, it's kind if like other people should feel guilty for using a trigger warning, because they could be 'giving people that nudge'. I don't know, maybe it's just the way I think about things.

    I do agree with yellow, that people need to think about what they post and take responsibility for it, but this site doesn't allow graphic pictures or descriptions of self harm or anything, and that's great. I do feel that trigger warnings are needed though, for the common issues, it's not like there's a trigger warning in every title.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't think the word trigger needs to be used but having some kind of warning for things that could trigger people would be helpful. It's just common courtesy! They wouldn't think twice about adding a warning about flashing lights for photosensitive epileptics, I think it's bias against mental health issues vs physical again!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I appreciate the BBC acknowledges at least some of the absurdity of trigger warnings by recognising the irony of having to issue a trigger warning on a topic about trigger warnings. It's all a bit Inception, if you ask me.

    I think YSH has made the most cogent arguments so far: ostensibly trigger warnings are there to help people browse more responsibly but they're as much an absolution of responsibility as anything else - both on the part of the person being "triggered" and the person posting the potential "trigger".

    I also don't particularly like the Trigger brand; it's likely born out of good intention and on the surface seems to be a reasonable enough idea, but as with a lot these initiatives it doesn't really stand up to scrutiny.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    They wouldn't think twice about adding a warning about flashing lights for photosensitive epileptics, I think it's bias against mental health issues vs physical again!

    That's a pretty bad analogy. It's small, clearly defined set of visual elements which have the potential to cause epileptic fits; there are innumerable potential "triggers".
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Of course I'm not saying that we should be giving warnings for all of it, but a little bit more of - this program contains scenes of violence/abuse etc wouldn't go a miss!

    I'm going to probably tread on some toes here but I really think if you haven't ever had flashbacks or been triggered something that you would have made efforts to avoid, or you have a fair amount of knowledge in this area I.e. You're a psychologist, I really think your point it fairly invalid.

    And what's worse? Going through life living with constantly avoidant behaviour, or a people giving warnings where they feel they are needed - take the word trigger out of the argument completely!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    Major common triggers can be on all manner of TV programs, films etc. So what do you do, just not watch, read or listen to anything?

    If the triggers can be on any manner of programs then the onus is absolutely on you to do your research before watching anything. The ESRB include a description of any violence in films already, it's up to the individual to seek that out. We also have the watershed; I don't think it's making a huge leap that any film or programme being broadcast after it will contain adult themes that may be triggering.

    Any programme I've seen that features domestic or sexual violence has had a warning beforehand and mentioned where to get help at the end of the show.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    There's a fairly key point in there to me - trigger warnings, and signposting the content of material are two quite different things.

    I've got no issue with the warnings ' this upcoming news piece contains material that some viewers might find disturbing' having previously told you what the headline is. Labelling stuff as 'Triggering' though I do disagree with.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If it is made clear what the content subject is then I would err on the side that a trigger warning shouldn't need to be used. We could end up in a very difficult and troublesome situation if we tried to cater for every single possibility in terms of trigger warnings. Miss Riot mentioned a trigger about orange fleeces, a serious problem to those who are triggered by orange fleeces, but problematic if we start exploring every single possibility that could arise. If we went down the route of labelling every single possible trigger ever, then you would have to cover the content with such detail, that you would remove the need for triggers in the first place as you would have such a massive idea of what happened.

    That said, I think their use is a good thing but important in where and when they are used. Helpful to those who feel they may need them, but is it really right to remove peoples ability to research things (such as films) on their own. Useful on a forum such as this, but not in every single walk of life.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Infinite. wrote: »
    If the triggers can be on any manner of programs then the onus is absolutely on you to do your research before watching anything. The ESRB include a description of any violence in films already, it's up to the individual to seek that out. We also have the watershed; I don't think it's making a huge leap that any film or programme being broadcast after it will contain adult themes that may be triggering.

    Any programme I've seen that features domestic or sexual violence has had a warning beforehand and mentioned where to get help at the end of the show.

    So should people who maybe triggered not watch any TV after 9pm? I think that's not really fair that in order to protect their mental health they shouldn't watch any TV just In case there's content which could trigger them. A warning isn't inflammatory, it doesn't disrupt peoples watching experience but it could really help a large amount of people!

    I always check what a program is about but that doesn't always tell you and there aren't always warnings beforehand, especially on the news of recent, or on non-terrestrial channels especially on freeview there's lots of TV films and stuff like that where it's never stated before the program. I'd like to see a mandatory warning system come into place.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I do find some of these trigger warnings quite silly - I sometimes watch programmes which tend to involve operations and related stuff and there's always a warning about it being graphic. I would be disappointed if it didn't show what it claimed it does.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think just saying "graphic" isn't really enough, it needs to say of a medical/violent/sexual or whatever nature... Otherwise it's just as good as not giving a warning at all!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    I think just saying "graphic" isn't really enough, it needs to say of a medical/violent/sexual or whatever nature... Otherwise it's just as good as not giving a warning at all!

    This. I could watch medical programmes, even though I don't, as I'm not keen on the blood and stuff *shivers*
    Not violent or sexual though, and I hate it when I'm watching something and it wasn't warned beforehand exactly what there would be a scene of, like violence or abuse.

    I don't like it when it says 'contains some upsetting scenes that viewers may find distirbing'. Okay, but upsetting scenes of what? Because some things I can watch, other things I try to avoid altogether.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    So should people who maybe triggered not watch any TV after 9pm?

    No, but if they are sensitive to specific content it is not unreasonable to expect them to take extra care with their viewing choices. The BBC, ITV and Ch4 all have announcements before programmes with violent content. Ch4 even make announcements before returning to programmes after advert breaks. Films are already rated with guidelines about violence by the BBFC and ESRB.
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    I think just saying "graphic" isn't really enough, it needs to say of a medical/violent/sexual or whatever nature... Otherwise it's just as good as not giving a warning at all!

    Surely that can be gathered through context? If it's a programme about hospitals, graphic will refer to operations. If it's a war film then it will be violence, if it's a romcom then there might be a bit of boob or penis. It's not difficult to work it out.

    You seem to be arguing from the standpoint of a hypothetical viewer watching in a vacuum with no prior knowledge of what they are about to watch or its content. The warnings about programmes are already there.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    No I'm arguing as someone who has many times watched something that either has had no warning or a very vague warning and I have had very bad and graphic flashbacks of my own triggered, so I'm not talking from a hypothetical view point. Program descriptions are often very vague, as are film descriptions and a films rating can be based on an array of factors that may or may not trigger someone - like a bit of boob or the language used.

    Warnings are not used enough and they are not specific enough either. There's no debate about that! Some channels are better than others, channel 5 being on of the worst, ITV behind it
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    hmm

    I agree that triggers are a very personal thing. What got me won't effect someone else.

    But I do think there is an element of people not understanding what a trigger is and people are ignorant to what they, say post on the internet, can do.

    generally these days potentially upsetting media comes with a warning to allow people the chance to continue or discontinue.

    There is an element of society being informed - but no one can possibly expect society to fit for a minority, look out for them yes where needs be but in the over all a minority isn't enough to stop a major social movement a lot of the time.
    And then it's down to the individual to know what puts them at risk and try and steer clear. Someone who isn't in the "zone" but has had these problems will try and avoid it but if someone is already in that mind set a trigger warning isn't going to make much difference in the long run because that person is essentially already triggered.

    I too hate the word trigger. Sounds like I'm a complete nut case and some sort of scientific experiment. But the word describes quite concisely what is happening in an individuals head though which in the long term gives an outsider a slight awareness of what's going on.
  • Annaarrr!!Annaarrr!! Noob Posts: 876
    Trigger warnings are a personal thing. People shouldn't expect the whole world to cater to their needs its just not realistic. I've never once watched a show that has had a warning and then been shocked or surprised by what is shown in the programme. Its easy enough to find information about individual episodes of a series or films online. You don't expect shops to start hiding potentially harmful products from view so self harmers aren't triggered/tempted so why expect it from the tv companies. There needs to be a certain amount of responsibility if youre aware youre rather sensitive to certain topics.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You know where the things in a shop are and its easy to avoid them - and most shops do actually have most sharp objects behind the counter. I think its easier to pass the problem back to those who suffer and tell them to deal with it rather than making albeit small changes, but changes none the less. I'm not saying that people who get triggered by things should be wrapped up in cotton wool, of course they need to take hold of their own responsiblities but I think there are more things which should be done to meet in the middle. Its called social responsiblity and I think the media need to start actually taking up elements of responsibly that are woefully lacking - especially on the news (anyone remember that item on the Saville case where they had a victim actually taking about his attack - there was no warning on this, and often the content on that case is brief and doesn't contain any details like that). I'm really surprised by the number of people who are saying they have never watched a program thats had possibly triggering content and not had a prior warning. I think if you aren't actually watching out for possible triggers and you don't get triggered by that kind of content they can easily pass you by.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    People have allergies to all kinds of things. Food you buy in supermarkets and restaurants does have warning for the most common allergens but of course they don't have a warning for the uncommon ones. That's why one reads the ingredients, which are available in packaged food: You know what you're allergic to and if you see it in the list you don't buy that food (the same can't be said for restaurants, where I've often been surprised by something included in a dish that wasn't described on the menu -but that's a whole different conversation).
    One can say then that the same should apply to things on TV: Have an easily accessible list of everything included in that film/episode/documentary. There is one relevant major difference between food and entertainment though: (Almost) nobody would say "Why did you tell me what's in this food? Now you've ruined it for me!" but most people would say the equivalent for a film. Even things that aren't major plot points and strictly can't be considered to be spoilers may ruin the experience for a watcher.
    The best solution would, perhaps (I'm not making a point here, mainly thinking aloud), be to have a list of everything as an optional part of what you're about to watch. Somewhere where it can be easily accessible but entirely optional. Perhaps as a page on teletext or something similar? That way, everyone who wants to avoid a certain thing can make sure it's not there. IMDB's "parental guidance" page can be helpful for that and I've used it, but not every episode/film has one.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/19/us-students-request-trigger-warnings-in-literature?CMP=fb_gu

    What do people think about this (putting trigger warnings on literature studied in universities)? Some of the proposed trigger warnings like 'colonialism' seem daft imo.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That seems a bit odd but I think warnings of rape and graphic violence should be used - even if it's just a warning in the book list rather than on the book itself.

    I really wish the news would stop using such graphic descriptions of what's said in court in sexual assault cases though. You can't even seem to avoid it these days unless you just avoid the TV/radio/Internet/newspapers.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    There's a possibility that the news agencies may have to report what is said in order to avoid any contempt issues. Admittedly that isn't an ideal situation by any means.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I understand that but surely that's a clear case for trigger warnings! I can't even look a my FB newsfeed without there being a sexual assault/rape case being reported.
Sign In or Register to comment.