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December, 2022

The practice of trigger warnings originated primarily for the benefit of people with post-traumatic stress disorder. The idea was to flag content that depicted common causes of trauma, like child abuse, incest, and sexual violence so that people could then choose whether to engage with this material. Nowadays, people are much more open about mental health issues. This has led to less stigma and more open discussion. It also facilitates helpful communication between people with mental illness.

Trigger warnings play an important role on social media platforms, where people spend time connecting with others and sharing information on an unprecedented scale. For example - there have been trends on TikTok where people talk about their trauma experiences, oftentimes in detail. This can be very empowering for people partaking in these trends. On the contrary, it can even re-traumatise other survivors to hear details about traumatic experiences like theirs.

Not only this, but trigger warnings should be included as a part of our daily life as well. As students are going back to school, different content covered in various courses can be sensitive for certain students. To avoid the potential discomfort around these topics, trigger warnings should be put in place to give a preface about the sensitive content. The point here’s not to enable let students to skip these readings. Rather, it’s to allow those who are sensitive to these subjects to prepare themselves for reading about them, and better manage their reactions. As a very basic example we can consider the fact that in COVID times, many children lost their parents. If, at the same time, a poem is being taught in class solely based on the theme of mother’s love, it may have a severe impact on one’s mental health. This’s where trigger warning plays a crucial role and emphasis on the need to be present before any such content because every person life experiences are different and each one of us reacts differently to different situations.