Friday, May 9, 2008

Seriously, Could That Face Belong to a Stalker?

Yesterday I had my first experience with cyber-bullying. It wasn't horrible, no one was saying my daughter was a whore, or threatening to kick her @$$, but it still pissed me off.

I've never been the kind of mom who kept her kids away from the internet. I figure to their generation, the internet is a part of life, and they better learn how to manage it so they don't get hurt. Just like sex and drugs - honesty is the best policy. I do keep the computer in a central place in the house, and I'm not above reading someone's myspace page if they leave it up on the computer! But in general, I'm pretty liberal about the whole thing.

So my daughter was IM'in with some of her downstate homies, when she tells me to come look. And there, on this girl who was supposed to be one of her best friend's YouTube page - the girl is calling my Sophie a stalker! Apparently, because Sophie still wants to be friends with the people from the town that she grew up in, this girl thinks she is a stalker! (Methinks the girl is seriously jealous that her friends still wanna hang with my daughter!) Let's just say, my "mama bear" came roaring out! (This happened once before when I saw a kid try to punch my then fourteen year old son - I screamed at the kid in front of an entire baseball field full of people - my son almost died of humiliation, but I couldn't help it!)

I pushed Sophie out of the computer chair and immediately typed the following IM to her "friend" :

"Do you know what you just did? It's called cyber bullying. When someone posts something to a public forum that says mean, untrue things about someone else, it's called cyberbullying. And in many states it is illegal. I can not control what you say in your IMs but if I ever see something negative about my daughter in a public forum written by you again, I will let your parents know"

Now, I'm not sure cyber bullying is illegal, but hell, the girl is only 12, just trying to put a little fear in the message you know? However, a part of me immediately starts to panic "Oh my gosh, did I just cyber-bully her" But my husband and nephew assured me that what I said was ok, if not well researched. :)

Then, the girl types back that her dad read what she had written, that it was not mean and that she did nothing wrong. Ok, I lose. If a parent doesn't think calling a 12 year old girl trying to keep in contact with her friends, a stalker is mean, then what am I going to do? My poor daughter is trying to learn that lesson that every 12 year old girl has to learn - let those bitchy people go. They are not worth your time. If your friends are really your true friends they will still be with you regardless of what the little snot says. I feel so bad for her!

But on a positive note - I WON! I won knitandfallbackinit's 100th post contest! I never win anything, really. I'm so excited! Two skeins of Rowan Tapestry are coming my way! I've already researched it on Ravelry - I'm thinking the mini-clapotis might be flying off my needles sometime soon. I love the knitting community on the web. I wish there were more places like it, I hope my daughter will find an e-community like it someday. We are proof that the internet can be a friendly, fun place. We rock!


Knit and fall back in it said...

I would not want to deal with, nor would I want my kids to have to deal with all the crap kids have to deal with today. All of my friends have little kids and mine are grown. You know, people rarely talk about it, but maybe there really are some benefits to teenage pregnancy. ;)

Knit and fall back in it said...

PS - the mini Clapotis is the way to go.

Kristina B said...

Tracy, that is a real drag. However, I suppose that it's better to get these lessons sooner in life than later. The internet makes it far too easy to be mean IMHO - a friend's son has also recently been bullied in cyberspace and by text message. Sigh.

I think you handled it the right way, though.

Congrats on winning the contest! Looking forward to see what you make with the Rowan. :-)