Although I want to be able to protect my kids from other kids, at the end of the day, I know it’s best just to arm them with as much self-confidence and as many social tools as they need in order to navigate the choppy waters of youth. I was on both sides as a kid. Sometimes bully, sometimes bullied. It hasn’t gotten any easier this generation.
Recently, my younger daughter told me a friend used physical intimidation on her at the playground. I spoke with the friend’s mom, who was understanding of my concerns. I’m happy we were able to resolve the issue between the kids with no hard feelings. Life’s about learning lessons, after all, and when to give second chances is an important one.
With older kids, intimidation can be uglier, sneakier. When “bad blood” creeps into social platforms, they become rife with bullying, name-calling, rumour-spreading, threats. I can’t imagine going through my teenage years with texting, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and the like around.
As a parent, I am very glad I stayed one step ahead of my kids when it comes to social media and that we’ve got a “not unless mom gets the passwords” policy. It can be vicious out there!
As for dealing with cyberbullying, people advise “don’t feed the trolls” (meaning, if someone’s trying to get under your skin, just ignore them). My elder daughter can teach me a thing or two on how to ignore a troll (because my first instinct is to attack back). I have so much respect for her and the restraint she has shown online. That said, my trigger-finger’s always on-the-ready to call the police if I deem it necessary and I’m always watching.
As a parent, have you had to deal with trolls/bullies, online or IRL?