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Wife of late NHLer getting online hate while grieving husband, stepping back from social media

Last Updated Apr 16, 2021 at 6:14 pm MDT

If you or someone you know needs assistance, call Crisis Services Canada 24/7 at 1-833-456-4566.

EDMONTON – The wife of a late Oilers player is taking a break from social media after she got negative attention online following her husband’s death.

Colby Cave was 25 years old when died last year after a brain bleed.

RELATED VIDEO: Colby Cave’s death sends shockwaves through hockey community

While grieving her husband, Emily Cave got an unexpected and unwanted response: online trolls.

In an Instagram post, Cave says she will be taking a break from social media because the hate online has simply destroyed her.

“Lately, I’m petrified to look at my phone. I can only take so much slander and mental and emotional abuse. I will not make it if it continues, I can say that confidently,” she said.

A cyberbullying expert says the effects of continued online hate and abuse can be detrimental to one’s mental health and can even lead to suicide.

RELATED: Edmonton Oilers forward Colby Cave dies at age 25 after suffering brain bleed

“I was furious [when I saw Cave’s situation]. I was so angry to read that. So, this poor woman who is going through such a trauma and then to be retraumatized by a bunch of jerks? I just couldn’t believe it,” said Dr. Tracy Vaillancourt, the Canada research chair in school-based mental health and violence prevention.

She added there are higher rates of suicide connected to cyberbullying than traditional forms of bullying.

‘You know, if somebody is calling you names to your face, or excluding you from the peer group it’s very obvious who is doing it. When it’s done on the internet – especially when it’s anonymous–you don’t know who is against you and who is with you. And I think that creates another layer of abuse that’s not there with a traditional form of bullying.”

They say there are a few ways to mitigate online hate if you find yourself the target of negative comments.

“Don’t engage with them. Our first instinct is to fight back and that makes sense. We want to defend ourselves, but that’s what they are looking for. So just block them right away. And never engage with them again,” said Vaillancourt.

“The second thing you could do is add a lot of privacy filters to your social media sites. So you can have an Instagram account that’s private. It’s not going to fix it all, but it will certainly reduce some of the troll traffic.”

If you or someone you know needs assistance, call Crisis Services Canada 24/7 at 1-833-456-4566. If you or anyone else is in immediate danger, call 911.