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How Should Moms Deal with Cyber Bullies and Online Abuse?

Posted by on Oct. 22, 2013 at 11:30 AM
  • 2 Replies

 

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Question: Have you encountered bullying or abuse at CafeMom?

Options:

Yes; It's happened once or twice

No; I've been lucky!

Yes; It happens all the time


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Total Votes: 5

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Not a month goes by without some kind of controversy stemming from social media or elsewhere in the online world emerges in the news, and it is usually related to cyberbullying, online abuse or simply bad taste in the way that people conduct themselves online.

The majority of people in the developed world engage with some form of social media - whether that is Facebook, Twitter or YouTube - or online forum - including blog and website comment feeds - in their lives, and even if you are not the victim of it yourself, you will often come across some form of abusive or inappropriate comments aimed at somebody, either in disagreement with a point they are making or simply as an act of ‘trolling'.

Trolling has become increasingly popular on the web as more and more people head to the internet to discuss world events and interact with one another online. It has grown into a significant issue over the last decade and now seems at its highest point of controversy and - dare we say it - popularity, as it almost becomes ‘cool' to be controversial and hateful online.

You only have to read YouTube comments or use a Hashtag on Twitter for controversial subjects such as the disappearance of Madeline McCann to see some of the more horrendous aspects of online trolling and abuse. It appears on the surface that this sudden need for attention has taken a sinister turn, as few would argue after being a victim or witness of some of this abuse.

So how do you stamp it out? The UK government has brought in stricter laws against trolling and online abuse, with some convictions made, and the recent suicide of 12 year old Rebecca Sedwick has brought the same debate to the United States. The need is definitely there for tighter controls and legislation, but how do you legislate and convict when there are such grey areas that a court of law could easy exploit.

For example, when children get involved in cyberbullying, it could start off because of apathy, boredom or because they are not happy with themselves, before growing into something that even they don't understand. If those posts lead to the suicide of their victim, could they - or indeed their parents - be treated under criminal law? It is likely to spark a heated debate on both sides of the argument.

For now, all you can really do to protect yourself from trolls and online abuse is the following:

  • Don't Fight Fire with Fire 
  • Block it out - via social media blocking controls, or by purchasing online applications for your computer such as video moderation and a profanity filter
  • Report it to other parents, teachers and to the websites themselves

One of the main reasons that trolling and cyberbullying results in a tragic suicide is that people feel like they are being singled out, and this makes it harder to talk about the problem. The more isolated and alone you feel, the more withdrawn and helpless you become, and that is when the worse is likely to happen. Talking about these issues either with loved ones, friends or on special online forums is the best way to get to the personal side of the online abuse issue.

The wider problem is one that the world is still trying to understand and control. The internet is such a fantastic tool, and the freedom is creates is one of its greatest assets. But when used as a weapon, it has the power to destroy lives. Hopefully as time goes on, the line between free speech and internet control will be discovered and implemented so that everybody can use the web without fear of bullying, abuse or judgement. It remains to be seen but we should all be hopeful for it.

by on Oct. 22, 2013 at 11:30 AM
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Replies (1-2):
paganbaby
by Teflon Don on Oct. 22, 2013 at 11:35 AM
1 mom liked this

I guess I've been cyber bullied in here, but it doesn't affect me. I get a kick out of women acting like idiots,lol. But I'm an adult, I can handle myself. Hell, I don't even report them.

My 14yo dd on the other hand is another issue. She's had some bullying. She told me about a few girls who were being mean to her. I messaged their moms then had dd block them. Problem solved.

smalltowngal
by Platinum Member on Oct. 22, 2013 at 11:41 AM

No, I haven't been cyber bullied. Called a couple names but I ignore it and move on. 

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