Monday, February 10, 2014

Social Media and Our Children

Keep Calm

Why are kids so ugly to one another these days? Why do they say things behind a computer screen that they absolutely would NOT say to the other person's face? Why do they feel that it's cool to use profane language? Why?

Cyber bullying {noun} :  the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person (as a student) often done anonymously

Here's the thing. I knew when our oldest son started middle school that it would be an adjustment. I remember when I started sixth grade what a struggle it was to fit in. Luckily, I made friends quickly and had a pretty smooth ride through much of middle and high school. {That's not to say I didn't have problems and issues with "mean girls". But, I made it out okay.}

Middle School is hard, y'all! 

What I wasn't prepared for with him was bullying. More specifically, cyber bullying. There's something a little more straight-to-the-heart when you, as a parent, can read the ugly words being said towards your child over social media. When you SEE words being spoken to your child that you yourself would never, in a million years, say. The profanity. The ugliness. The hatefulness. *sigh* I just can't even tell you how it breaks a momma's heart. 

Had he come home from school and said "so and so said this to me" it would have been painful. But, when I read profanity after profanity after profanity {does this kid know any other words} then it stinkin' hurt my heart. Mine and my son's.  

Why do I even bring this up? BULLYING NEEDS TO STOP. Bullying at school AND Cyber Bullying. TODAY!!

Talk to your kids. Every day. When they walk through the door ask them how their day was. Was it just "okay"? Pry it out of them. "I'm fine, Mom." To that I say, "No, you're not." Let your kids know they can trust you. You believe in them. You LOVE them. 

Are your kids on social media? Instagram, Facebook, Twitter?? Monitor it. Know their passwords. Know who their friends are. Know who they follow. Be one of their "friends".

I'm not telling you to be 100% in their business...but, really, you should be! We should ALL be in their little lives. 


When I was growing up, kids weren't so mean. We never had to deal with this kind of ugliness. Or, is that so? Had computers been such a large part of our generation as they are for our children, then kids would've surely been just as mean. Kids aren't "meaner", per se, they just have a new avenue to show their meanness.


We live in a world that is well on it's way to being all digital and social media. Today's technology is here to stay. As much as we don't like it. So, keeping our kids from the computer and social media isn't really the answer. Teaching them right from wrong in computer etiquette is a great start in fixing the problem. 


One important lesson we can teach our children: Tell your child to think to his/herself before typing it out to the other person, "would I say XYZ to _____'s face?" More often than not, so many hurt feelings {and other more serious, unfortunate events} can be avoided if our children would filter their thoughts before speaking/typing them for other children to hear/read. 


Do you have something to add to this post for other parents to read? Tell me in the comments.














3 comments:

Heather Julian said...

Melissa,

I feel your heart in this post. I have raised 3 teenage girls, all in their High School years. In a few months I will gain full custody of my 15 year old nephew, who will be an 11th grader. He will be living with us in Maryland, in a city that is very diverse. My sister was bullied when she lived here with us, because of her skin color. I can only assume the same will happen with my nephew. It's not right, it's not fair. I am having to correct him from here even though he isn't here yet. He says things on Facebook that I know he wouldn't say in person and wouldn't say if he lived here. It's a battle I'm willing to fight with him, and every parent needs to be willing to fight that battle with and for their children.

Amy Volk said...

This is so true. I have twin 9th graders and I am ALL IN THEIR BUSINESS! I'm not a helicopter parent, but I am all over social media and I monitor it closely. WE HAVE TO in these days of the internet and apps galore. #typeaparent

Sarah Pinnix said...

I like your means-test. "Would I say this to their faces?" The thing that kids aren't being taught these days is compassion. It's so easy for them to say nasty things to people, I don't understand it. My daughter has this girl that literally glares at her at school and tells other girls not to be around her. Why? No reason. Just to control. Above all, I want my kids to become compassionate human being.