Yesterday I saw at least fifteen 'parents' harass and abuse a complete stranger because she was pregnant and considering an abortion due to the fact she was 18, already had a baby and couldn't afford another.
People were telling her to kill the baby she already had instead, telling her how awful she was, telling her she should keep her legs closed, saying that if she didn't want to get pregnant she shouldn't have sex in the first place (protected or otherwise).
People were abusing and bullying a complete stranger while she was seeking advice from them, and the same people they themselves seek advice from. However, instead of in person at a place like the planned parenthood, this was in a facebook mother's group.
Does that change things? Make it ok to belittle and bully a vulnerable, pregnant teenager looking for your advice as a parent, just because it's online?
I don't think so.
I think it's disgusting, in fact I think that entire page is disgusting. They brag that they "never delete anything, unless it's a threat". -And yet they deleted my post on there giving people an alternative mother's group to go to for advice instead of that cesspit...
A quick look at that particular page shows you that it desperately needs moderation. But that opens an entirely new can of worms.
The internet is a place where people seem to think it's ok to do something, or to say something, they wouldn't usually say to a person, because in the real world people have morals, and respect, but throw a computer and an internet connection in front of some people and it's like every poisonous thought they have is instantly required to be typed out and sent.
On this particular post someone told one of the most vocal bullies that her suggestion of "kill the kid you already have instead" could get her charged with accessory to a crime if the OP were to talk her suggestion to heart, now while I don't know about that, her rebuttal of "it's the internet, anyone can see I have nothing to do with her and I can't be held accountable if she does what I tell her to" is sadly very accurate.
I recently read about a 14 year old girl who hung herself after months of abuse and bullying via an anonymous chat type website, Ask.fm. People were telling her to kill herself among all kinds of other nastiness, and you know what; she did just that.
14 years old and they found her hanging in her bedroom because of the abuse and torture of complete strangers on the internet. People who hid behind anonymity to sling insults and bully.
These strangers cannot be held accountable as there is nothing that shows who they are, so the family is calling for the creators and administrators of the website to be held accountable. Calling for them to be charged with manslaughter.
The big difference between these two is, one is anonymous and the other is on facebook where we CAN see who you are. And CAN be moderated, but is not.
Sadly, the world has a long way to go in handling cyber bullying and being able to see who it is does little for you beyond being able to block them.
If you wouldn't do or say something in the real world, don't do or say it online.
Bullying is a big enough issue in the real world, with teenagers killing themselves over taunts and abuse in the schoolyard, and now the internet allows for it to be brought home with you as well.
The internet is not your personal hate machine. It does not allow you to spew poison and nastiness to anyone you deem deserves it.
One day I hope the law catches up to the technology we have and can start acting on these type of situations. It's not acceptable in the playground, it's not acceptable in the workplace, it's not acceptable on the streets or in the shopping center and it's NOT acceptable on the internet.
I think what most disgusts me about the bullying I saw on facebook was that it was on a young mum's advice page. This bullying was done by people with kids.
Let's hope they're raising their kids with more understanding and respect than they're showing.
Here's a video reminder for all those with kids out there. What your kids see you doing, is what they learn to do.