Anyone who is in the public eye can, and probably will, quickly become the target of bullies or “haters.” It is vitally important that both parents and children understand this point before a child posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. As soon as anyone begins an online profile they are now “in the public eye” and have opened themselves up to being mocked, verbally attacked or bullied.
There is not necessarily going to be any rhyme or reason for the hatred or attacks, because some people just like to hate for whatever reason. This is hard for most people to understand because they want to believe that they are doing the right thing and therefore they are entitled to their opinions and should not be judged. Unfortunately, this is absolutely not the case.
As an adult, you either come to terms with this fact or you spend your whole life worried about what other people think and say about you.
The problem is that children, as well as many adults, do not realize that they will be criticized and they generally do not possess the coping mechanisms or rational thought process to deal with a bully or hater because they have not developed these skills yet.
Contributing to this problem is:
1. Parents don’t tell their children that people will hate / attack them for the things they post, the videos they produce or the opinions they present because most parents have never put out material that can be attacked and therefore do not have experience with this.
2. Parents don’t realize their kids are putting material out on the net.
3. Parents believe that their child’s material is good / correct / cute and therefore incorrectly conclude that nobody is going to attack the child, especially not personally, when in fact that is exactly what might happen.
These misconceptions are not necessarily a parent’s fault. Times have changed and most adults who are now of parenting age never had the opportunities with social media that kids have today, so how could they know what to expect?
Most people’s immediate response to an online hater is “people should get to say or do what they want and criticizing someone about their opinions, views, appearance etc. and trying to bully them shouldn’t happen.” In general these comments are correct, however, everyone in the public eye gets criticized and our society has made it socially acceptable.
Look at the vast array of TV shows, like American Idol, where people are openly criticized. Every day news broadcasts take shots at politicians and celebrities are always being scrutinized for their appearance, political views, the quality of their movies. Because our society has made it “okay” to so openly criticize, we have unintentionally put our children in the crosshairs of someone who just wants to hate and bully because they have seen how easy and acceptable it is. How can an annual anti-bully day, or some other short-lived awareness program, compete with the social proof of daily bullying and hating that our kids see all around them from what they consider to be credible sources? The answer is… it can’t.
Here is the point. Children should never start putting out videos, pictures, tweets, etc. without understanding that they are automatically going to become a target of somebody, or lots of somebodies, who hate and criticize them for no real reason other than they can. It is the parent’s job to make sure they have this difficult conversation with their kids and help them understand and come to the realization that there are always going to be haters, and usually they are far more vocal than supporters.
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Posted on Wed, February 18, 2015
by Elise Edwards filed under