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‘Using social media to hang a child out to dry is despicable’

12:10 13 March 2016

PA Photo/JupiterImages Corporation.

PA Photo/JupiterImages Corporation.

Archant

It’s a phone call that every parent dreads: “Hello, your son has been bullying another child.”

Frank May/DPA/PA PhotosFrank May/DPA/PA Photos

The sensible response is to find out what happened and – if the accusation is substantiated – deal with it.

That ought to involve getting your son to apologise to their victim, preferably in person, and giving him a stern lecture and a punishment (I’d go for either pepper spray or banning him from his X-Box for a week or two).

There is another way though, in this modern age of social media, where dirty linen is routinely washed in public.

That is to follow the Terri Day Evans example. Ms Evans was so horrified when her 12-year-old son stamped on a girl’s foot and broke her shoe that she shamed him – on the social network Facebook.

Her post was “liked” by 55,000 people – the virtual equivalent of standing him in the middle of the pitch in front of a capacity crowd at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium to have rotten fruit thrown at him.

She even used a hashtag – one of my many pet hates, except when they are on Twitter – #Iwillnothaveabullyinmyhouse.

Catchy. And all so horribly wrong.

If I said what I really think, my blood vessels would burst and I’d be sacked for allowing purple prose to turn blue. Suffice to say that I think using social media to hang a child out to dry is despicable.

However, it is just the natural product of the tiresome habit of using our children as a means to boost our image on Facebook and Twitter.

Until fairly recently, if we wanted to boast about our children’s achievements, we had an audience of a few friends, workmates or family members. Now, there are endless possibilities – and thousands of people to reach with our bids for reflected glory.

Here are a few made up but realistic Facebook posts that are typical of the sort of nauseating guff that some people post:

1 – “I’d like to wish my gorgeous Lily a happy 15th birthday. I can’t believe she’s this age already.” You can’t believe it? It’s not as if it has been a bolt from the blue. Lily aged incrementally, one day at a time, giving you plenty of warning.

2 – “So today I’m the proud father of a [insert name of junior sports team here] member. Well done, Jaden.” Er, why not just tell the lad face-to-face and cut out the hundreds of middle people? Also, starting a sentence with “so” is so annoying. So there.

3 – “Not sure where Francesca got her brains from, but she got eight A*s in her GCSEs. #proudmum.” Well she didn’t get them from you, mum. If you had her cell-count, you wouldn’t be Facebooking a message that should be delivered in a card containing lots of money.

4 – “I’m not someone to boast, but Luke is such a clever, handsome and mature young man. #ilovemyson.” You are one to boast, and one to live your dashed dreams through the achievements of your son.

It’s all about getting as many “likes” as possible, and some cheap and meaningless adulation.

I might be proud of my children, but I’m not telling you – nor am I going to take to Facebook to boast about their achievements or express surprise at how they are older than they were when they were younger (or taller than they were when they were smaller).

Although I need all the reflected glory I can get, I refuse to get it at the expense of my children.

It would be embarrassing for them and disrespectful to them.

6 comments

  • Steve is 100% correct, in fact I would say that putting stuff like this on social media sites is bullying by the parents, leaving their kids wide open to ridicule and more bullying by those who read these stupid comments, don't air your dirty washing in public, keep it private. And if you had "real" friends instead of make believe ones you would contact them directly, not leave silly meaningless dross on web sites. Some of these people need to get a life. Well said Steve

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    Mr T

    Monday, March 14, 2016

  • Social media isn't all bad! Yes there are annoying posts and pages but what about the charitable pages? Pages that support people like me with rare illnesses where I can connect with others suffering from the something that I would never find locally, housebound disabled people can connect with the outside world! Can find old friends and family. Ofcourse I post when it's my kids birthdays! I'm proud of them and why not! It's not a bad thing to be proud of your kids. My best friend lives in Devon and both have disabled kids so hard to call but easy to send messages on Facebook. I guess some people are afraid to move with the times! .

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    thumper327

    Monday, March 14, 2016

  • This Story is pathetic and obviously written by a very jealous person. Very sad indeed. If you have real friends on your social media account, they will be happy and pleased to hear about your child's achievements...and vice versa. Not everybody sees such a very negative view point. Be happy for your "friends " children's achievements... not jealous.

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    Amanda Mayhew

    Sunday, March 13, 2016

  • Social media has transformed communication. I can contact a Norwich fan in Texas to tell him the latest score and any news about the club. Wonderful. The flipsde to this is all the unpleasant stuff that goes on.

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    Suffolk Exile

    Sunday, March 13, 2016

  • Social media has transformed communication. I can contact a Norwich fan in Texas to tell him the latest score and any news about the club. Wonderful. The flipsde to this is all the unpleasant stuff that goes on.

    Report this comment

    Suffolk Exile

    Sunday, March 13, 2016

  • Correction to headline. 'Social media companies are 'despicable'. The parasites, despite their 'happy clappy - we - love - our - customers' bullxxxx, feed on the less intelligent members of the population who feel compelled to tell everyone else about how breathtakingly marvellous their lives are....not. Not to mention how terrorists groups use it to organise their 'activities'. But you won't hear any government minister criticise them.......think of all the business it generates......yum yum.

    Report this comment

    One Horse Town

    Sunday, March 13, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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