Mom to Mom Cyberbullying

In my teen years I thought I was big stuff with my flip phone.

Pretty sure they are collectibles now. I also thought the drama of my teen years of was a thing of the past; that the catty girls of high school were far behind me.

This week I found out firsthand how cyberbullying feels. No it wasn't a one of my children being bullied, but me, and from a group of moms with common interests no less. Grown women dishing out insult after insult and taunting me on social media. It was like I'd been biten with venom and was slowly succumbing to its ill effects. Moreover, I was extremely caught off guard that this could happen to me - at this stage of my life.

But it did.

One evening, within one of my mom-based Facebook groups, I saw a post from one mom to another talking about how she was going to be on vacation for a week. I commented that it was not very smart to post that kind of stuff on social media and that she is more likely to be vandalized because people would know exactly when no one would be home. I guess this person felt like I was attacking her, so she proceeded to attack me back by going to my profile photos on Facebook and screenshoting one of my photos to pick apart. Then others joined in on the taunting. It was a full on cyberbullying party. I was in disbelief. How could this be happening to me?!

I had to take a few moments to gather my wits. I wanted to fight back and attack. I wanted to tell these women that they should be ashamed of themselves. Then I remembered what is the best way to deal with people like this. Do nothing. I would be only adding fuel to the fire, and obviously they feed off the drama.
Then I thought what is my time worth? I am a mother of 3 lovely littles and a husband who loves me for me. With every little imperfection. I have meaningful friendships and hobbies I enjoy. With all this positive in my life, why should I even let these negative people ruin a single moment? 

But this experience did change the way I looked at cyberbullying. It made me wonder what if it were my children they were attacking? What would have happened if they didn't know how to handle the situation? It also reminded me to change the privacy settings on my profile. Another thing I felt about them was sadness. What has happened in their lives to make them behave this way?

I also thought about the very word - bully. A verb that equals action, doing something. Hurting others. 

bul·ly
ˈbo͝olē/
verb
to intimidate (someone) 
synonyms:persecute, oppress, browbeat, harass, torment, ,strong-arm, dominate

To oppress. To torment. To intimidate. All such negative words. Dark words. 

Mothers, I'm urging you to talk to your children and openly discuss the best way to handle situations like this on social media. The sad thing is that in the world we live in there is a greater opportunity that it will happen at some point for many of us. No longer are we on the the little flip phones with no data plans. Cyberbullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, any time of the day or night. 

If you personally have been attacked or are currently being attacked just know you are better then the bully. Their words may sting, but they're just words. Rise above and be grateful for all the good you have in your life.



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