30 Nov Online Bullying – It’s Not Just for Kids
I, like a vast majority of you, am on Facebook. I mainly use Facebook as a tool to keep in touch with those from the past. More recently, however, I’ve been using it to get information. I belong to groups specific to my needs where others can post questions, suggestions and information that might be helpful. Belonging to said groups had generally been a positive experience. That is, until it wasn’t.
Last week, a particular post in one of the aforementioned groups created a stir. Members of this group, grown women with children, came out by the droves (all from behind the security of their computers, of course) to speak out both against, and for, this highly contentious post. Mudslinging ensued.
Group members used nasty names, racist slurs… you name it, it was said. At this point the group got shut down, as the moderators deemed the group to be too hostile an environment, and one that they no longer had control over. It was at this moment I asked myself, how can we expect our children to rise above bullying when we as adults cannot do it ourselves?
I use the term “we” generally speaking, as while many mothers took part in this online bullying, thousands (this is a very large group) chose not to partake. How do we, as role models for our children, preach to be kind to one another and in the next second become the bully ourselves? Technology, while serving as a way to bring people together, and create communities where they may otherwise never be created, is also ripping people apart.
Why do we hold ourselves to different standards than our children? Cyberbullying is bullying regardless of your age. And why do we think we are invisible simply because we are not face to face with that other person?
It is important to remember what we tell teens all the time… once you post to social media the information is no longer your property, it becomes public. If you act inappropriately online, you could be risking your career and who knows what else. While you might feel invisible, you are anything but.
It’s time to start practicing what we preach. Be kind to others, be smart when using social media, and most of all lead by example.
Authored by: Tracey Weiss, LCSW