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To want to protect my DD from this bullying but not know how?

(43 Posts)
TwentyOneGuns Mon 23-Nov-15 17:57:08

DD is 13 and I keep my eye on her texts and social media accounts to make sure she's not sending or receiving anything she shouldn't - not up for a debate on that really, I feel it's appropriate at her age. She's aware I've got her passwords etc but wouldn't be delighted about the idea of me looking I don't think.

I've discovered some quite unpleasant messages from a boy she used to be friendly with, picking on her about a certain aspect of her appearance and moving on to 'nobody likes you' type of nastiness. I really don't like the tone of the messages or the fact that it's been done in such an underhand way i.e. by direct message instead of openly or face to face.

I'm not about to go in all guns blazing and get the boy into trouble although I know I could speak to either the school or his parents if I wanted but I think that would mortify DD. I really just want to support her and maybe suggest some ways to deal with such nasty behaviour (or take it further if she wants me to) but how can I when she's chosen not to tell me?

I really don't want to let her know I looked at her account as I'm worried it'll make her delete other things in the future to stop me finding out. All the advice says to keep an eye on your child's online activity at this age but I don't know what you're supposed to do when you do actually find something out!

Should I just butt out and accept that this is the way the nasty kids do their dirty work these days or should I try and find a way to raise it with DD and risk her never telling me anything again?

00100001 Mon 23-Nov-15 18:02:12

The way to deal with it is talk to the school. No need for guns blazing, report it, they might be aware of other things going on etc

Euphemia Mon 23-Nov-15 18:02:53

How has your DD been responding to the messages? Do they seem to have been affecting her?

Rinoachicken Mon 23-Nov-15 18:12:18

What are the parents like? If they are likely to be as shocked as you then I'd print out the evidence and let them deal with him (with the understanding that if there are any repercussions you'll be taking it further). If not then the school is your next port of call.

Bullying is bad enough when it's confined to school. When it's online as well it starts bordering on harassment and becomes downright dangerous, because the victim can't escape from it.

Also, talk to your daughter. Let her know she shouldn't have to accept anyone talking to her like that

TwentyOneGuns Mon 23-Nov-15 18:33:56

It's a bit awkward because he's at a different school although he lives near us. I don't know the parents well enough to say how they'd react tbh. DD handled it quite well but I know she's sensitive about the thing he mentioned (an aspect of her appearance) and anyone's going to be hurt by being told their friends are faking and being called a bitch sad

I totally agree that online bullying is particularly nasty but I am so worried that if DD finds out I know she will see it as an invasion of privacy and no longer trust me. It'd be so easy for her to delete any future messages she thought I shouldn't see and then what if anything more serious happens?

IamlovedbyG Mon 23-Nov-15 18:47:49

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Rinoachicken Mon 23-Nov-15 19:06:03

Or do this ^ grin

FadedRed Mon 23-Nov-15 19:24:56

I think this is the sort of subject that one should discuss with their DC's as a matter of course.
Perhaps you could bring the subject up in a general chatty sort of way, maybe in car, when you are not looking at each other (good place for this type of conversation IME).
Maybe you could say you had read about in a magazine/newspaper/ heard something on radio/TV. It's common enough issue along with cyber grooming (sad evidence on today's News and on Woman's Hour), and ask her if she had heard of similar problems from her friends or is it talked about at school, and had she thought what she would do if something like that happened to her or her friends? Where they could get help, what's not acceptable etc.

TwentyOneGuns Mon 23-Nov-15 19:48:15

I really feel like doing just that Iamloved but maybe not the best plan wink

Faded I tried that sort of thing earlier (and have in the past), kept it all very casual but gave her every opportunity to say something if she wanted but she's giving nothing away. (I do agree about the car though, not sure why they open up there but they do seem to!)

I know she thinks I am too strict at times (what teen doesn't?) but I'm worried I've gone too far and she now feels unable to tell me things sad

Mistigri Mon 23-Nov-15 19:50:54

I think you need to have some general conversations about behaviour on social media and ask her if she's ever come across anything that has bothered her (be subtle, it's a conversation you need to have over a period of time).

I don't personally agree with spying on teenagers' social media, but in practical terms, I think the disadvantage is that it tends to give you a false sense of security (she probably has accounts you don't know about) while also making you less likely to address these issues pre-emptively.

(That's not intended as a dig at the OP, I know that it's difficult to get the balance right with younger teenagers and that my hands-off approach isn't right for everyone).

strawberryandaflake Mon 23-Nov-15 19:52:44

Change her password. What she can't see won't stress her. I often tell my students that if they don't want to get bullied online then don't go online... They always look at me like I have told them to kill a kitten! It doesn't make it right, but if the bully has no one to send messages to, they can't bully. Xx

BertrandRussell Mon 23-Nov-15 19:55:17

Has she responded? Is she bothered by it? Have any of her friends joined in on either side?

wannabestressfree Mon 23-Nov-15 19:59:40

I would block him From her account and feign ignorance..

howabout Mon 23-Nov-15 20:00:32

I wouldn't be happy spying on my dd behind their back tbh. I tend to agree with Misti. Given you are where you are I would have an open and honest conversation with your dd about it and introduce her to defriending, blocking, reporting and privacy functions. At worst she resents you but is better able to protect herself even if she is more secretive, which is probably down the line anyway.

Enjolrass Mon 23-Nov-15 20:04:23

OP I really think you should be upfront with her.

Dd has a phone and some social media apps. She knew when I bought her the phone that I had to have all passwords and that I will look at her accounts.

She is also quite gullible and thinks her bill has all the messages printed on it, but not everyone can get away with that.

Why does she think you need the passwords of you are checking up?

PaintedTshirt Mon 23-Nov-15 20:10:00

I was going to say block him and plead ignorance too!

Not sure how much of a long term solution that is though.

TwentyOneGuns Mon 23-Nov-15 22:49:49

I really don't see it as spying on her, just being a responsible parent - surely the fact that I've found out something is going on supports that?

DD did respond and held her own without resorting to nastiness, it was done via private message so friends wouldn't be able to get involved.

I know this won't be the last time something like this happens and I can't protect her all the time, I guess what it comes down to is that I'm sad she doesn't feel able to tell me what's going on for some reason sad

BertrandRussell Mon 23-Nov-15 23:09:38

"guess what it comes down to is that I'm sad she doesn't feel able to tell me what's going on for some reason sad"
What if she feels she has dealt with it to her satisfaction and doesn' feel the need to involve you? She is growing up- there are going to have to be battles she fights for herself. And which you won't even know a out. I say this as someone who had to stop myself leaping on a plane to sort out my 19 year old's friendship problems........!

Baconyum Tue 24-Nov-15 04:37:09

"I really don't see it as spying on her, just being a responsible parent - surely the fact that I've found out something is going on supports that?"

Not really because if you were honest with here you'd be able to discuss it with her. Now you're in a position of knowing and being very limited in what you can do without her knowing. It's also an abuse of her trust.

My dd is almost 15 and had a similar situation last year. I pay for her phone therefore its mine and I get to see what's on it and confiscate if necessary.

As a result of my dd knowing I can see what's going on she talked to me about it, initially we discussed strategies. That worked with one bully the other though escalated to the point of physical threats (Inc in person) at which point I told her mother to get her dd to pack it in of police would be getting involved. Stopped then!

Dd isn't allowed any accounts I don't have access to. I'm pretty good on tech and have friends that are very good and she'd have to go great lengths to have an account I don't know about!

Honesty and trusts work both ways. If she can't trust you (not to spy on her and sorry but that is what you're doing), then why should she behave honestly?

Sighing Tue 24-Nov-15 04:59:59

strawberryandaflake

"I often tell my students that if they don't want to get bullied online then don't go online... They always look at me like I have told them to kill a kitten! It doesn't make it right, but if the bully has no one to send messages to, they can't bully."

Really? You're advocating victim blaming as a method of dealing with bullies? Are you aware of the vast resources available? Surely you've encountered enough training to give young people good advice about bullying in an environment they must (realistically) engage with for the rest of their lives?

I am very sad to read your response.

StrawberryTeaLeaf Tue 24-Nov-15 05:32:06

DD is 13 and I keep my eye on her texts and social media accounts to make sure she's not sending or receiving anything she shouldn't - not up for a debate on that really

It's the genesis of your current problem.

You've spied on someone who is moving towards adulthood and should have a reasonable expectation of increasing privacy.

If you really believed that this was a reasonable strategy of responsible parenting why have you not been open with your DD about the fact that you are monitoring communications that she considers private?

It is now impossible for you to act without revealing what you've done and showing your DD that she can't trust you.

You are rather snookered. Just be grateful that it is 'only' low level bullying that your snooping has uncovered and not something much, much worse.

greenfolder Tue 24-Nov-15 06:43:30

If your girl has dealt with it well, I would leave it tbh. My view of social media is that it is the same inane nonsense that teens have thrown at each other since time began but now it is written down for parents to chew over. I absolutely do not mean that sometimes it can be terrible just like real life bullying can be, that's a different thing. But as the mother of 3 daughters I have learnt that a lot of stuff is here today and gone tomorrow. The critical thing is to have a system where your daughter can tell you if something has upset her.

WhatamessIgotinto Tue 24-Nov-15 06:51:38

I had a similar issue with DS. I knew something was going on so told him that my phone wasn't working and I would like to use his. He gave it willingly as I think he was relieved for me to find out what was going on. We talked it through and I told him I was going to talk to the school and make sure they knew that i had discovered the messages myself (not that it should make a difference but at that age it doe). I also printed out everything. School spoke to child and informed him that DS had not 'grassed him up' and I had found the messages myself. Child dealt with, parents involved (who were great) and nothing since. You might find that your DD wants you to know whats going on.

SarahSavesTheDay Tue 24-Nov-15 06:59:37

"I often tell my students that if they don't want to get bullied online then don't go online... They always look at me like I have told them to kill a kitten! It doesn't make it right, but if the bully has no one to send messages to, they can't bully."

Really? You're advocating victim blaming as a method of dealing with bullies? Are you aware of the vast resources available? Surely you've encountered enough training to give young people good advice about bullying in an environment they must (realistically) engage with for the rest of their lives?

I am very sad to read your response.

I don't think this is remotely sad. It's not victim-blaming, it's just a strategic rather than tactical suggestion.

TwentyOneGuns Tue 24-Nov-15 07:02:15

I need to clarify here, I'm not snooping behind my DD's back. She knows I have her passwords and that I check her accounts from time to time. Whether that's a good idea or not is a matter of opinion (although it's absolutely recommended at this age) but I'm not doing anything underhand. It's not something I'll continue when she's older but at this age I feel it's sensible.

The reason I am unsure about speaking to her is became I know she won't like the fact that I've seen this - she's aware that I can and do look but I don't think she likes the idea or thinks it's necessary. I can see that by insisting on this I risk her hiding things from me but I just don't feel comfortable leaving her to it with a bunch of strangers on the Internet at this age.

It's so difficult, I am not trying to interfere in her life, just keep a look out for her and be there to help if she needs me, why do I come out looking like the bad guy?

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