In the last week, Star Wars actress Kelly Marie Tran and Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown left social media platforms (Instagram and Twitter, respectively) after being online bullied by trolls and even fans. These incidents bring up a good question for your child and their online experiences- should they leave social media as a solution to online bullying?
Ultimately, this decision is up to you and your child to make, considering the circumstances, but first entertain a couple thoughts. One reason why kids don’t tell their parents that they have been bullied online is because they are worried that they will have their internet privileges taken away- consider if it’s fair to punish your child for being a victim of someone else’s harassing. In the end, your child might decide themselves that it would be easier to take a break from social media, but having the conversation first is the best way to ensure that they are open with you about their experiences.
Are there other ways to achieve the same end result? Most likely your child won’t have the amount of harassers that these celebrities did, so is individually blocking or filtering out information from the bullies an option? Every major social media platform has at least the basic ability to block users from access to your profile, and many of them have extensive ways to filter out content and tailor it to exclude offensive content.
Social media is here to stay and maybe it is better to find solutions that mitigate the negative effects of using these platforms, rather than just abandoning them altogether. Having a conversation with your child about ways to use social media for positivity is a small step you can take to affect change.