Friday, October 22, 2010

Is it cyber-bullying

Being a mom to a young adolescent is so much different than just being a teacher of young adolescents. And the world of our preteens and teens is so much different now than even 17 years ago, when I first set foot in my 8th grade classroom. We have so many things to worry about as parents. And technology can add to those worries. Thankfully, it can also be an outlet for finding people who can help with answers and advice. That is what I need today!

My 13 year old daughter is on facebook. She handles herself well and she understands (mostly) how to stay safe, how to develop her digital footprint. I like to think that I am right there beside her to guide her. I am her friend on facebook and I do monitor what she says and what others say on her wall. I do not get into her account, as she has given me no reason to think she is hiding anything or doing anything inappropriate. In fact, the issues she is facing right now, she is being very up front with me about. I guess I just need some reassurance that I have handled things correctly and maybe some suggestions on what more I might need to do.

The issue is that there are a couple of high school girls who are posting very catty posts to her wall and commenting snarkily on her status updates. There is nothing overtly threatening to the posts, but I can tell that it causes my daughter anxiety. I recommended that she "unfriend" them. Really, why do you want to invite people into your life who make you feel that way? She did take my advice, but reluctantly. She seems to think these girls will view her as weak if she unfriends them, or that they will think they have the upper hand. I think at this point she needs to ignore them. She is already worrying about next year when she will be in the high school with them!

So at this point, do I ignore them as well, or do I let someone know about the behavior of these girls? And if so, who? I know my daughter is worried, and it is a worry that I share, that if I do say something to the school or to the parents, the backlash from the girls will be worse than what she is currently experiencing.

When these perplexing problems show up, I really miss those sweet little toddler days, when the biggest struggle in her life was avoiding naptime!


  1. I would say document, document, document. Take a screen shot of the remarks. If it escalates at school, I would get the school involved. If it just continues on facebook, it is appropriate to speak to the parents.

  2. Becky,
    Thanks--I hadn't even thought to do a screen shot and keep track of this stuff!

  3. Becky has the right idea that you should document this with a screen shot, and I agree with you that your daughter should un-friend these girls. After all, I think it is importnat that we teach our children to manage their networks. (I've culled many a contact or friend who provided no true value to my network.) You might also consider helping your daughter craft a kind, but direct, response to these girls about why she has decided to un-friend them. (They can still send email, right?) People who act this way shouldn't get a pass, but must be confronted. Otherwise, we have ourselves to blame for allowing the behaviors to continue.

    I think you should consider your relationship (if any) with the parents, too. Would they want to know? Would they respond appropriately? If my child had written the snarky comments, I'd want to know and address it with him, and I'd probably need to see the screen shot, too. Since your daughter isn't in school with these girls, I don't think the school needs to know right now, but I'd continue monitoring it just incase you need to inform the school of their historical behavior.