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There seems to be a lot of awareness and education in our school systems regarding online bullying and education on school bullying in general but is that enough?

We live in a monkey see monkey do world and a majority of what our children do in life is a learnt behaviour.

So where are our children learning to be so nasty and for bullying to be so rife that there needs to be education focussed just on that? Perhaps it is learnt in the playground or perhaps we should be pointing the finger at ourselves as parents.

I think the finger pointing needs to begin…

Yes I’m calling it, hate me for it, attack me for it but I’m well and truly over it! Cyber bullying is rife right now and not just with our school aged children. Us as adults, mothers, fathers, aunties and uncles, are being found guilty of this same act of nastiness. This is where our children are learning from and they are learning that it is okay to attack other people from behind a computer or phone screen.

There are thousands of examples out there I could use but this one caught my attention so I’m going to use it as an example.

Just last week I read an absolute tirade of attacks on a mother who posted a photo of some lip gloss she gave to her daughter as a reward for a job well done. That exact lip gloss leaked onto a dresser and stripped the paint off. Of course this mother wanted answers on what to do and to warn other mothers of this horrible product, so she posted a photo of the lip gloss sitting on top on the dresser with newly stripped paint underneath to Facebook and shared it on a public forum to get some awareness out there. While there was some absolute love and genuine help being offered, (bravo to you lot!), some mothers just got plain nasty! This is what I like to call ‘the mum war’.

Some accusing this mother of being a bad parent because she purchased a lip gloss for her daughter and think this is teaching her daughter to be materialistic too young. Others started an attack on this mother for giving her daughter the lip gloss as a reward without reading every single ingredient! (I mean who the hell has time for that sh*t anyway and who the f&*k can understand what the 15 letter long words mean anyway?) It was a reward for a job well done for goodness sake! This mother was looking for guidance and probably some positive mum chat to let her know that’s it’s ok and she’s not a bad parent! Don’t you think this poor lady felt bad enough after realising she had given this to her daughter who had been using it on her lips for days, and just by chance the lip gloss leaked and stripped the paint off her daughters’ dresser.

Where do we stand in society that this mother needed to be ripped a new one by people telling her she was a bad mother by not reading the ingredients on the lip gloss?

Did we not get taught that if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all? To modernise that phrase to the online life we live in I shall write, if you have nothing positive or constructive to put towards the conversation or post please scroll past instead!

I myself can be fussy about what products I let my children use but let’s be honest, who on this Earth actually reads every single label on every single thing they buy? Ok so I know a couple of people that come to mind that may do this but I mean, just because it says it’s natural and safe doesn’t always mean it is, so you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t!

At the end of the day we live in 2016. Why the hell is something that can strip paint off a dresser allowed to be sold off shelves in Australia as a lip balm?! This is the gut wrenching question I got out of this mum war. This is not the mothers fault; this comes down to this product being approved for sale in Australia. Not just this product but thousands of other products as well!

To the people who thought it necessary to attack this mother for raising awareness on this dodgy lip gloss, I’m calling you on your bullsh*t and shame on you! Shame on you for not lifting this mother up when she needed it the most. Shame on you for teaching your children that cyber bullying is ok. And I would like to know, how you find time to read the ingredients on every single label you give to your children? (Seriously, I’d love to know. Your time management skills must be phenomenal!)

Every parenting decision that a mother, father or guardian make leaves them open to attack in today’s world, and there are no winners.

Social media and blogging have added a whole new dimension to the conflict between parents. No doubt I will have some form of abuse thrown at me once this goes live. The competition has extended beyond the stay at home parent or go back to work debate. The battles are not isolated to the comment sections of blog posts and news articles, or fights on Twitter either. Don’t even get me started on the school mum bitchiness that I have personally felt first hand!

None of us are perfect and nobody is a perfect parent. We all try our best, try and do what is best for our children and that should be enough.

Sometimes we come to social media for help or guidance and I ask that instead of knocking people down with horrible onslaughts and starting these mum wars how about we put a hand out and empower each other! Is it seriously too much to ask?

Do you have anything positive to add to this? Please share in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • Hi Mel,

    Congratulations on doing this great article! There are a lot of good points and shaming the ways that messages are shared on Social Media.

    Love your focus on sharing positive comments and lifting each other up.

    Having said that I do feel strongly that negative consumer experiences needed to be shared as well so that others do not fall pray to unethical business practices.

    Great work, Mel! Love your sharing!

    Viola Tam

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  • Its bad isn’t it. I usually stay out of any negativity unless its to do with a political cause which I still then don’t degrade other humans. I wrote about something similar to do with the devolution of human beings. We are literally going backwards and behaving like the caveman age but with technology at our fingertips. Remember what you do with that technology is in YOUR control. Evolve yourself. Be smart and be better!

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  • Social media has ruined us. We all need to take a step back.

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  • I tend to avoid commenting in social media for this very reason. I am often shocked and saddened at the way that people speak to each other online.

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  • I once knew a woman who started a petition in her hometown regarding her daughter being bullied at school.
    However, she forgot to mention how she (yes the mother) had been bullying these children at the school & online!
    I think it is terribly sad that her daughter was attacked because of her Mothers actions however it was rather hypocritical of her to make such a scene over children bullying her child when she, a grown woman, was bullying children herself!
    It ended in the mother actually being charged with assault on a minor!
    Terrifying to think that things can escalate like that & perhaps this woman should have thought of the effect her actions were going to have on her daughter!
    I am pleased to hear this young girl is now living with a relative & her social life has dramatically improved.

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  • I always try to be polite, and try to be aware that you have to be more explicit in writing to make sure your intent is understood.

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  • This is the exact reason I don’t let my daughter on social media, doesn’t matter how nice a person you are, there are always nasty people out there wanting to bring you down. At 12, she is the only one of her group of friends that doesn’t have facebook (which you are supposed to be 16 to be able to use) and I don’t think she will get it anytime soon much to her dismay. People think they have a right to say whatever they want, I live by the rule that if I wouldn’t say it to your face, then don’t type it!


    • Isn’t it interesting how young people are using social media. There is so much pressure on children already but the online pressure seems to be outrageous. I had one mother of a 12 year old girl tell me how her daughter now suffers anxiety and locks herself in the bathroom at sleepovers to get changed in fear of her friends taking a snap of her on their phones and loading it straight to facebook! Are these even friends if they do that? I don’t think kids understand the complexity of it all, and it is something that needs to be introduced to them slowely.
      Well done on taking a stance on this issue for your daughter, I’m sure she will thank you for it one day ;)

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  • Hmmm, have to admit, I have had a go at some people online before. I never get abusive tho, I do put my side across if I disagree with what they’re saying tho. At the moment, it’s all the conspiracy theorists online spouting their views on the Port Arthur massacre, claiming a government set up and Martin Bryant is innocent. As someone who lived, still lives locally, I vehemently disagree with this! And I let them know! They firm their opinions on stuff they’ve read online, from people who weren’t there, based on accusations guesses and imagination. I’m more inclined to go with the people who were there, what they saw, what they heard. I do get worked up


    • There is a big difference between having your opinion and bullying somebody online. Although I usually just move on even if I don’t like somebody’s view even if I want to have my say. (which is totally ok to have your say) Too often you will see arguments start from it though, and you can pick the people that post things just to start fights!

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  • I was on a parenting forum site once that was so incredibly toxic, people would absolutely RIP into someone for saying the wrong word or not knowing something that had preciously been discussed in the board (even when you could tell they were new) or that was considered common knowledge, even innocent questions could be pounced on.
    I’m not new to internet forums so i see my fair share of toxicity but when a group of people who are on a forum which is meant to support each other manage to be more toxic than a gaming community which is NOTORIOUS for being toxic- something sure is wrong!

    And the worst thing was that with those sorts of things the people attacking would back each other up, they would practically praise each other and glorify their abuse. I saw one woman point out that ‘you are bullying this person, how would you feel if your children were treated as you are treating this person’ and then THAT person got attacked by the abusive members.


    • It really is sad isn’t it. I wonder if the same people attacking would stand in person and spit out those words verbally?! I highly doubt it!

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  • Whatever happened to the sisterhood sticking together. Very bad indeed.

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  • My son is not aware of my social media interactions but I am really conscious of any comments that I post. I know that other people will see them and they may even affect my work situation so I definitely NEVER post anything that I don’t want others to see. That’s the less we teach our son, too.

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  • We only use social media a little to connect with old friends and family members who live on the other side of the world and with whom we otherwise never would be able to have contact with. And this is fun ! That social media and blogging would have added a whole new dimension to the conflict between parents is not something my husband and I have experienced since social media and blogging isn’t an important thing in our lives. Not only that, kindred spirits as we are we luckily don’t argue a lot and certainly not in front of our children.


    • It is so great to hear that you haven’t had to experience any negative aspects to social media. It is a fantastic platform to keep in touch with long distance friends and family that’s for sure :)

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  • Unfortunately, social media is a convenient platform to berate strangers with little consequence for your own actions. I know that most of the parents I know would probably discuss such issues but wouldn’t post something hateful or judgemental just because they could. Let’s hope there are only just a few online trolls out there.


    • The nasty people are a minority but it’s a shame they have to flood the market with their hate! I’m glad you know so many parents that see the comments and move on without giving it the attention it certainly doesn’t need.

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  • I avoid social media big time. Just look at your littlie – does he/she have hands on hips, say No very loudly, say I’m telling Daddy? who are they mimicking or are they mimicking their Dad when/if he gets aggressive. They soak up our actions and reactions without either of us being aware of it. We made a rule in our house that we would never argue in front of the children, and we would modify our behaviour. They still picked up that there was something wrong – but they haven’t followed the aggressive abuse thankfully. Bringing up children is a hard task and they mimic our every move – so watch what they do and if you don’t like it, change your own behaviour.


    • I totally agree and I was just having this conversation with hubby the other day!

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  • Toally agree and I also thing we forget that there is another human on the other side of the screen


    • It is not hard to be nice but it takes ALOT of energy to be nasty!

    Reply

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