How do you deal with judgy moms and adults acting badly — online?
As I continue to write about bullying and cyberbullying, it never ceases to amaze me how many different ways people have discovered to hate others — whether it is on the playground or virtually, peer cruelty doesn’t seem to have any limits or boundaries.
The irony of it is we read so much about youth bullying, and I don’t want to diminish that it is an important issue — but the fact is adults are not only victims of harassment, they can be the perpetrators too. Yes, the very people that should be our children’s role models (sports figures, celebrities, politicians, teachers, elders, etc… people we should respect) can be the direct people that are acting like children online or otherwise.
We have heard the stories of fat shaming, face shaming, parent shaming (moms judging moms), baby shaming, cyber-shaming and this year I read more about the ugliness of slut shaming (from adults).
Most of us remember the tragic incident at the Cincinnati Zoo when 17 year-old gorilla Harambe was shot and killed by zoo personnel after a 3 year-old boy crawled into his environment.
It was a tragic accident, but thankfully the toddler is okay. Sadly the gorilla is dead. Animal activists were angry and set social media on fire.
But it’s more than about the death of a gorilla — it’s about insulting, judging and humiliating a mother who is already probably feeling a million pounds of guilt on her shoulders.
It was parent shaming — in full-force!
Short-term gratification, long-term ramifications
We’re living in a culture where we aim and shame instantly without considering the truth or consequences. How many of us have had those parenting oops moments and are grateful they aren’t memorialized on social media? How many of us are perfect parents?
Before you use your keystrokes to shame or insult someone — pause and think about yourself. Are you so perfect?
It’s time we start bringing empathy back into our culture. With empathy it’s almost impossible to be cruel to each other.
Ways to improve our online behavior begins with civility.
The three C’s of improving our online behavior can help us prevent digital disasters and avoid oops moments.
1. Conduct: Take time to check-in with your emotions before you pick up your keypad. We’re living in contentious times, anger is temporary – online is forever. The cell-phone is a great tool, but it can easily be turned into a weapon that harms people with words (or humiliating videos). Keystrokes can be used four ways – help, heal, hurt or to harm. Be sure you’re using them the right way.
2. Content: Social media can be fast-paced. More and more we are reading about people that suffer with tweet regrets and post remorse. Take the time to consider what you’re about to publish online. Is it going to embarrass you or humiliate someone else? Fifteen minutes of humor is never worth a lifetime of humiliation.
3. Caring: Many people know they should treat people online as they do offline, but that doesn’t stop digital cruelty. I say, care enough about yourself to know when you need to click-out if you’re about to leave a snarky comment or ‘like’ a mean meme. Don’t allow your emotions to take control of your fingers. You are the role-model to your children and the next generation.
Before you use your keystrokes to shame or insult someone — pause and think about yourself. Your online behavior is a reflection of your offline character. The way you treat others says a lot about you as a person. This is your reputation.
5 Ways you can avoid public shaming:
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Be self-aware of your offline actions.
- If you find yourself getting steamed, walk away.
- Have zero expectation of privacy — wherever you are.
- Treat people the way they want to be treated, always.
When it comes to parent shaming, there are no winners.