Elizabeth · Family · Friends · Kids · Mommy Musings

Cyber-Bullying and The 7 Year Old

The following information is based on a true story. Names have been changed to protect the minors involved. These are their stories.

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Last Christmas (2014) Santa brought Elizabeth – who was 6 at the time – an iPod. {start the judging, people, I can take it}. Here’s Santa’s reasoning behind it: Elizabeth loves music. She loves recording herself singing, or acting out a play. She was always using the “family iPad” to do this stuff. She’s not into Lego (learned that the expensive way), Barbies (thank god) or many “toys” in general. She is into art and music. So, while standing in Walmart, Santa said to herself “Screw this, I’ll buy my kid whatever the heck I want to. I don’t have to answer to anyone!”. And with that the transaction was done.

The new iPod was used to play games, listen to KidsBop versions of real pop songs, FaceTime with a couple of friends, and iMessage the same crew of 3-4 girls. The texting didn’t improve her spelling, which was a disappointment. FaceTime conversations looked like that first person video in The Blair Witch Project, but all in all it was a great gift. From Santa.

Until one Monday.

On this Monday, as happens on most days, a girl messages another girl, and these girls then add everyone they’ve ever met to a group chat. Sounds fun, right? Not when you’re trying to eat dinner and all you hear is bing! bing! bing! I’m happy the kid has friends, but come. on. As per usual, I get up to silence the little contraption. After dinner, because I’m nosey a concerned and involved parent, I scroll up through the messages to see what’s cool in Kidtown.

Then I see it. A kid from our school threatening my kid. OH HELLS NO. I immediately went red and took off my earrings all while crafting my murder trial defense story. But before I go into that, here is exactly what happened. My daughter’s friends love group chats. They’re normal girls – hooray! But some of the kids who are added to these group chats hate it. They hate it for the same reason I hate it – remember the bing! bing! bing! So when their iPods start going off, they get testy and sometimes lippy and ask to not be added to these groups. Understandable.

The back story on Elizabeth, my daughter, is that she is 7, and she texts slower than a snail traveling through peanut butter. She’s the princess of an emoji response, and the emoji rarely has anything to do with the topic being discussed. But on this particular Monday, she started replying, in a decent time frame, but at the worlds worst time.

We enter this conversation with an assortment of girls on the thread, but there are two main players. My kid Elizabeth, the offender who we’ll call Big Kid, plus a smattering of other kids who won’t get their own moniker, they’ll just be Other.

Other: Shut the front door

Big Kid: FUCK YOU LEAVE ME ALONE JACK ASSES

Other: Big Kid OMG calm down

Big Kid: Stop adding me ok???? Who ever this is

Elizabeth: Hi hi hi hi

Big Kid: Elizabeth

Elizabeth: Hi hi hi hi hi {dress emoji} {dolphin emoji} I am Elizabeth

Other: You are in grade 2

Big Kid: Ok first of all you’re a jackass and fuck you + leave me fucking alone ok? {alien emoji} Elizabeth do you go to (Name of our school) public school?

Elizabeth: Ya. Hi

Other: Ya she does shes in grade 2

Elizabeth: Ya Grade 2

Big Kid: You’re in for a beating if you keep adding me okay? Stop adding me and no one gets hurt {alien emoji}

Elizabeth: Ok

Big Kid: Good now leave me a lone

Elizabeth: Ok

Big Kid: Ok you’re in for a punch at school tomorrow

Other: Big Kid dont

Elizabeth: Ok

Other: Cyber bullying

Elizabeth: ok ok ok ok ok

Big Kid: I know I have anger issues

Elizabeth: Ok

 

Pretty messed up, right? The Big Kid in this is a 9 year old girl, from what I perceive to be a normal family. I see them at school events and talk to the mom often. She’s nice. I’m not even concerned about the language – we all dropped some colourful language when we were little. Normal again. My concerns were this: 1. I didn’t know this was going on. At. All. and 2. Why do kids think they can get away with threatening other people from the comfort of their own home? Don’t get me wrong, I’m waaaay too ghetto to let this make me afraid for Elizabeth’s safety. I knew this kid was only ballsy as long as she was at home. As are many bullies – young and old.

Elizabeth’s saving grace was that she couldn’t process the messages in the context they were meant to be read in. She didn’t know she was being cursed at or threatened. She didn’t even know who she was replying to. 7 years olds, right? Needless to say, this brought upon a huge conversation about sharing personal info, knowing who you’re talking to, and the ever popular: you will have no privacy as long as you live in my house.

This situation also forced me to do something many parents hate to do. I had to tell on Big Kid. I sent Big Kid’s mom screen shots of the whole conversation, and because I sort of knew her, I went with the approach of “just so you know what your kid is doing, and what kind of trouble she could be in if I wasn’t feeling generous today…check these babies out”. If I didn’t know this kid or family, I would not have handled it the same way. School would have been notified and probably police, too. And I’d have to un-retire my tire iron (kidding!). But you get it. You can’t take chances. Not with my kids.

At the end of it all, I don’t hate Big Kid, or her family, or iPods. I’m just serving as a warning that this shit can happen, to anyone. So go and pry that device out of your kids hand and start creeping. parents. After all, they’re not the boss of you!

 

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Final note: I attacked this topic like I do everything, with rage and humour. (Did you see the humour there?) That doesn’t mean I think this or any of the millions of bullying cases in the world are funny or something to be laughed off. It took me a long while to publish this, but I wanted people to know that it happens. My kid is young, I’m tech savvy, and I was known to Big Kid. None of that exempted our family from this situation. Nothing can replace some honest-to-goodness parental involvement, so take my advice and ask, talk, snoop. Whatever it takes. It’s in your job description.

 

 

 

 

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