My first experience with a Cyber Bully

I had my very first negative social media experience on Friday. It happened out of the blue and caught me quite unawares. Even though it hasn’t upset me (that much), it has made me think a bit on how easy it is to bully somebody on social media.

First some background

I have been working on the #OneGrandFamilyChallenge since the beginning of May. Every week I meal plan and budget for all my families food needs (meals/lunchboxes/snacks/treats) and then each night I post of pic of what I made for dinner. This is done on Instagram and Facebook with an ingredient picture followed by the completed meal pic.
There is very little that we don’t eat so I try to vary our meals by using different ingredients each week. Last Thursday I made a crabstick pasta. It was quite delicious. The next day I was at Muffins with Mum (how cute!!) at my daughters school when I got a notification. Someone had left a comment and a URL link on my recipe post along the lines of ‘Do you know what’s really in your crabsticks?’. First off, I don’t think anyone will think that it’s actual crab when they see the price. If it was, those crabsticks would cost a small fortune.

Crabsticks are made from white fish and binding agents such as egg white and starch. It is then flavored to taste like crab and dipped in red food colouring.

Anyway, I deleted the comments because I felt it was offensive and also one of those ‘don’t eat 2 minute noodles because it’s made out of plastic’ type stories. I then popped the person a direct message

The fallout

I didn’t think much about it because we have chatted quite a few times before and it has always been friendly. She has messaged me about me rather using cloth diapers as opposed to disposables to which I explained why that wouldn’t have worked for me and it was fine. There was another instance where she gave me really good gardening advice which I will actually implement. Which is why it took me completely by surprise when I was tagged in her Insta story:

Instead of replying to my message she chose instead to name and shame me on social media. I was both shocked and fascinated. Why would someone feel the need to do this as opposed to sorting out the issue directly? Especially since I hadn’t been rude in my message. I responded with a one liner “Classy” then got crapped on again before she unfollowed me and I blocked her.

Doing the right thing in the wrong way

Now, were I a less confident and more sensitive person, this situation would probably have spoilt my whole day. Luckily, I am quite confident in everything I post online as well as my interactions with my followers and friends so I feel zero guilt for my actions. However, it did really make me think about this experience.
I have no doubt in my mind that this person honestly felt that she was in the right and was in fact trying to help me by telling me that I was eating processed junk. She is a cloth diapering, vegetable growing vegan and is well within her rights to educate people on how to save the planet. I actually really admired how earth conscious she was prior to this incident. What I do have a problem with though, is her approach. I know that as a blogger I put myself out there for the public to judge me. At the same time though, I am still just a normal person. I am certain that were we having the above conversation face to face, the outcome would have been much more favorable.

What now?

It scares me to think that our kids will be open to this type of interaction 24 hours a day from the moment they get access to social media. When you’re sitting behind the safety and relative anonymity of your phone, it is so easy to type a nasty message or send a foul email. I can only imagine the lack of restraint that comes with adolescence. My eldest is the sweetest and most sensitive soul I have ever encountered. I truly have no idea how to equip her for this type of experience. If you have kids, please watch ’13 Reasons Why’ on Netflix. It will give you sleepless nights worrying for your child but it will open your eyes to realities that were not a part of our lives growing up.

How not to be an unintentional Cyber Bully

Here’s a few helpful tips to prevent you from unintentionally becoming a Cyber Bully.
Do’s

  • If you disagree with someone’s point of view or life choices, message them privately and if they are open to discussion then you can chat about it. If they are not, accept that it is THEIR point of view and THEIR life choice. Unless it is directly impacting you in a negative way, just let it be.
  • If someone regularly posts things on social media that you disagree with, hit the Unfollow button. You don’t need that negativity in your life and they don’t need your negative feedback.
  • Be helpful with your advice as opposed to condescending. It is a fine line to tread but it can be done.

Don’ts

  • Do not assume that there is a ‘best way’ to do things especially when it comes to parenting. There is no one right way.
  • Do not follow people on social media who live a lifestyle that goes against your beliefs unless you are willing to accept that.
  • Do not name and shame on social media unless it’s a last resort and the person has done something truly wicked.

Have you or your kids had any negative social media experiences? I would love to hear how you handled it and how it affected you.

5 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: