There are far too many stories out there about how internet trolls and bullies intrude on people's lives, particularly those who are in the public eye. Most recently, Black Mirror actor Will Poulter's tweet about his mental health very honestly opened up about this topic. According to PEOPLE, after being bullied online "for his role and appearance" in the new Netflix film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Poulter (understandably) decided to take a break from Twitter for a little while. The actor gracefully announced his temporary step back from the social media platform in a vulnerable, kind letter to his Twitter followers, in which he talked about how he needed to take care of his health first and foremost.
On Jan. 2, Poulter tweeted two screenshots of the letter, which he began by writing, "In light of my recent experiences I am choosing to take a step back, of sorts, from Twitter." He then wrote,
Before I do, I’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to everybody who has watched ‘Bandersnatch’ and for their responses (whatever they may be) to the material we created. I accept all criticisms and it’s been a delight to learn that so many of you enjoyed what many people worked very hard to produce!
Poulter added that, when it comes to social media, it's important to maintain balance between what you do on these platforms, and what you do in your real, day-to-day life. He wrote,
There are positives to enjoy and inevitable negatives that are best avoided. It’s a balance I have struggled with for a while now and in the interest of my mental health I feel the time has come to change my relationship with social media.
Poulter also wrote that, despite his step back from Twitter, he will continue to work with different organizations on social media that are meaningful to him and his wide-reaching platform as an actor, such as The Diana Award's Anti-Bullying Campaign and the International Society of Hypertension. Poulter wrote in his letter,
I am privileged to have this platform. I hope that this shift to reduce my personal expression and increase the focus on issues that matter will result in a better outcome for everyone.
Poulter's thoughts here are incredibly moving — not just because his intention to set boundaries for the sake of his mental health is a wise one, but also because, to see a celebrity be so open about their feelings, and the pain that these mindless, cruel interactions on the internet can cause, it's a reminder that how we communicate with each other matters. It's easy to forget, but you can really hurt someone with your words, even when the interaction happens behind a blue-lit screen.
Plus, let's not forget that social media use has indeed been linked to increased loneliness: A recent study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology showed that "limiting social media use to approximately 30 minutes per day may lead to significant improvement in well-being."
With that in mind, I hope Poulter finds the solace and comfort he's looking for (and deserves). His fans, including myself, will welcome him back with open arms whenever he's ready to step back into the Twitter spotlight.