When we were at school there wasn’t such a thing as social media bullying, therefore if you was bullied as soon as you got home you didn’t have to deal with it again until the next day.
Now don’t get me wrong , It was still horrific and I was bullied quite severely myself. However now if you are bullied then it doesn’t just stop at the school gates.
I have personally seen a large amount of bullying across and different array of social media platforms and as a Mum to a large number of children it concerns me that it could happen to them.
What is classed as bullying?
Now this is a question I myself asked a teacher regarding Harry when he went through his difficult times of bullying. I had emailed a teacher witha list of several things that had occured from having abuse hurled at him, to having all of his school items thrown in the shower and the response from the teacher was ” I can see how this could become bullying” As you an imagine I was not impressed with that response.
I promptly emailed back and asked if he would kindly set up a meeting with me to discuss what he considered bullying as just because somebody hasn’t been physically hurt it doesn’t mean that they aren’t being bullied.
Oddly enough that meeting never appeared, a short while later one of the bullies physically attacked my son and I feel that had the school have responded correctly in the first place and acted on the things that had already happened this could have been prevented.
Types of social media bullying
As a blogger I use almost every social media platform. This blog post is purely to help raise awareness of the things I have personally witnessed and is not intended as a professional piece.
Whilst using social media I have come across some pretty horrific comments, pictures and awful abuse hurled at people. I myself have been on the receiving end of some of it.
One comment I received at a time when I was partcularly low already, I was already debating my abilities as a mother when someone commented about how my children would be better off without me. This comment had a humungous affect on me, one I am not going to go into too much detail about but it just shows how deeply those little words can affect somebody.
More recently I have been called ugly, fat, people have written things such as they can’t tell if I’m a man or woman, they have spread rumours and lies around about me and it has had an affect on my personal life, social life and even some friendships.
Monitoring our children
Now as much as I would love to tell you all of the things I have seen have come from children I would be lying. Some of these things are coming from full grown adults, people who are parents themselves. The same people who are absolutely incredible in the eyes of everybody else and portray themselves as amazing across social media then are clever and send these things via private messages.
With this in mind I wondered what we as parents could do to help protect our children from social media bullying. Here are a few things that I personally do, whether or not you wish to do the same is up to you or even if you have any other fantastic ideas to help keep our children safe please write them in the comments below.
- Keep an eye on messages. Now I know this may seen very obvious but it’s very easy to become distracted and not check for a short while. Alongside social media bullying there is also a risk of people pretending to be somebody that they are not and posing a more serious risk. Always remember to check others and any other filtered / deleted chats. Whilst our children need and deserve privacy they also need to be safe.
- Show them videos online of the consequences of not being careful online. There are many videos out there showing the dangers around social media and if I see something I feel with educate or help my children stay safe then I sit with them and watch it.
- Monitor their pictures and posts uploaded on social media. I always try to make sure if there are any comments I read them. Anything I see that doesn’t appear to be friendly I question. Even if sometimes that means going directly to the persons parents.
- Turn off commenting. This is something I would do in severe circumstances. Whilst social media is great for sharing things with friends and family it is also VERY public so by turning off commenting you are not allowing trolls to write things that could ultimately affect the well-being and mental state of your child.
- Set their profiles to private. Many social media platforms automatically create your profiles as public but all of them have the option to become private meaning that people can only see the material your child is putting up once they have been allowed to access the page. For example Annabelle is given very clear instructions not to add or respond to anybody she doesn’t know personally.
- Have their accounts signed into your phone so that you can check and keep an eye on things. Now I know many won’t agree with this but for me it’s important. I once caught one of my children talking to a stranger, the child in question assumed it was ok because it was a friend of a friends cousin. You can never be too careful of who they are talking to. This also means you can monitor and make sure they aren’t bullying people themselves.
- Remove social media all together, If you see it’s all getting a little bit too much andthe comments, pictures etc are starting to affect them then remove all social media. Trust me when I say you wont be the most popular parent in the world but you will give them that little bit of cooling off time and break away from the stresses of it.
- Report any vile or upsetting pictures and comments that you see. Most if not all social media has a reporting button next to posts/comments. When you report it they then decide whether it should be removed or not.
Protecting our children
Whilst it is literally physically impossible to be with your children 24/7 and monitoring everything they do we can only try our best. If I ever found one of my children writing insulting or upsetting remarks to anybody else then I would make sure they didn’t have the tools to do that again.
Maybe if more parents monitored their childrens behaviour and put things in place to prevent others getting hurt instead of leaving them to it we could all enjoy the world of social media a little more
Everything in this post is my own thoughts and feelings.
Thank you for reading