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What do I do about these texts?

(65 Posts)
hungryhippo90 Fri 20-Apr-18 00:02:05

my Daughter is 10, she recently got a phone, in fact it was a Christmas present, she’s been monitored on her phone, she knows I will check whatsapp, musicly, texts and whatnot to make sure there’s no bullying going on.

DD is quite sensitive, very sweet, and I promise I’m not being biased she’s lovely, if even a bit too nice, she’s a people pleaser.

Tonight as she was going to bed, I said let me check your phone, she seemed to not want me anywhere near her phone. Ok I said, the deal is we can check your phone to make sure you aren’t being bullied or bullying if you can’t accept it, you lose it.

Her little face dropped and she sat down at the table whilst I looked.

There were texts from “a friend” from school. The texts were saying how someone else in their class said she was ugly and she couldn’t get musicly hearts or something (I don’t care about that!)
And that she had no friends.

Girl went on to say “other child” said he wants to know what would really upset you and make you cry

Dd answered I don’t know, and I don’t care.

“Friend” followed up with can I plz plz plz have a picture of you. DD sent her a picture and “friend” just said thanks.

This started on the day DD went back to school, this girl is now sat next to DD in class.

I may be being so over the top with my thinking as I was bullied as a child severely. I don’t quite think it’s bullying, but to me (as mum I’m going to see if this way!!) its fucking nasty.

Why on earth would you say those things to someone? Then ask for pictures of that person?

I’m fairly certain she wanted a picture to take the piss out of DD.

I wanted to screenshot the messages and send them in to their form tutor and ask him to keep an eye out to see if anything is happenning in school. I don’t want to make it worse.

I want to have her deleted from DDs musicly and have her blocked on DDs phone, DH tells me, what if she realises and decides to take things a step further?

I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to just let it go Incase this is the opportunity to nip it in the bud. Such nasty things to say though.

WhatsGoingOnEh Fri 20-Apr-18 00:17:44

I'd probably message the girl back and reveal I'm the mum, or I'd show the screenshots to the girl's mum.

hungryhippo90 Fri 20-Apr-18 00:21:08

What’sgoingoneh- I’m not sure that’s the best course of action with her mum, she’s one of those “my child would never.....” I’m worried I’ll cause more harm than good that way.

BlackBeltInChildWrangling Fri 20-Apr-18 00:25:10

Hi OP. Personally I think 10 is a little young for a smartphone and apps, and to be able to deal with all it can involve as you are finding out. My first DC was 13 after a year with just texts and calls.

I do think though that the checks you have in place are right. I do the same - phone must be available to be checked at any time. I also have parental controls in place for age-appropriate content.

I would definitely screen shot the messages and send them to the Form Tutor, and I would block the guilty party. It is bullying, does need to be tackled, and nipped in the bud.

Most importantly, a long chat with your DD about true friends v false ones, not responding to anything similar in future, not sending photos, letting you know if anything similar happens, what's going on IRL and how to deal with that etc. She's only 10 and needs your help on this, I think.

Your experience of bullying actually puts you in a better place to understand and help her. flowers

hungryhippo90 Fri 20-Apr-18 00:32:52

Black belt- you are 100% right I think. I’ve been wondering if this is a bit too early actually. I know that all of her friends do it, but it’s proven to just be another way for her to get hurt. Her confidence has been growing since we moved to this school last January, and now I’m just so scared that she is going to lose confidence because some children being unnecessarily nasty.

A chat about real friends and those who aren’t real may also be a very good chat to have. DD is quite naive. Need to work on that.

I’m not so sure about my experience helping, it makes me quite highly strung in this respect, instinct is to completely overreact to save my baby from everything.

Maybe we need to make a point to her that she does actually have friends. We’re going to the park tomorrow with 3 or 4 friends, so it’s not like she doesn’t have friendships.

BlackBeltInChildWrangling Fri 20-Apr-18 00:43:26

I think that's another great move - helping her build and focus on more healthy friendships. Good on you. That certain helps my DC cope with any of the sadly inevitable nasty kids.

hungryhippo90 Fri 20-Apr-18 00:46:06

Blackbelt- it’s just a shame there are nasty kids out there who feel the need to drag others down. I feel like all of what was said to DD was completely uncalled for. It must have been so hurtful for her to read. She didn’t tell us because she didn’t want them to get into trouble!

Weezol Fri 20-Apr-18 01:00:09

Of course she's naive, she's only 10! Your ideas for talking to her are perfect, but I think smartphones for under 13's are not great.

I hope the other girl doesn't do anything, but I have a feeling she may, so a quiet word with their teacher is a good idea.

hungryhippo90 Fri 20-Apr-18 01:07:04

Weez- but compared to even other 10 year olds,she just doesn’t believe that people can be nasty. She judges everyone else by her merits.

So many people have smartphones, I didn’t want her to be singled out for not having the same. It feels like a huge mistake.

Definitely going to see the teacher tomorrow... or am I best to send in a letter so it can be kept on file Incase this becomes an ongoing situation?

bunbunny Fri 20-Apr-18 01:07:17

Definitely screenshot as you've said.

If the girl is now sitting next to your dd in class then definitely talk to the teacher and ask what they do in the way of internet safety training... my dc are 9 and 12, eldest had phone before going to senior school. Their school is very hot on internet safety - on computers, tablets and phones... They also run annual sessions for parents.

it would be worth asking if they can run a reminder session on internet bullying and phone bullying for the year or class (depends on the size of the school!). Needs to cover showing parents messages you receive and never sending photos to anyone of anything, even if you think they are innocuous, as you never know how they will be used. Also maybe worth getting a class discussion going around what should somebody do if they get these sort of messages, what do they think should happen to somebody that sends these nasty messages. And maybe having some sort of class court where if someone gets messages they are worried about they can submit to the teacher who can look at them and discuss their impact/tell perpetrator off/etc. (Sorry, I know teachers have a gazillion other things to do!)

Also if you are worried about your dc being bullied by the other girl - then maybe it's worth making a formal safeguarding request that they look out for her particularly in relation to this girl

BlackBeltInChildWrangling Fri 20-Apr-18 01:10:07

Sadly OP, she'll have to deal with these sorts of people all her life. You're teaching her now how to and setting her an example.

BlackBeltInChildWrangling Fri 20-Apr-18 01:14:06

OP, I agree with Weezol and bunbunny above.

hungryhippo90 Fri 20-Apr-18 01:20:58

Bunbunny- can you tell me how I can formally ask for a safeguarding request please? This would be brilliant! The teacher is amazing and I’m sure will be very hot on this with the children, especially once he’s seen the screenshots.

BlackBeltInChildWrangling Fri 20-Apr-18 01:32:51

OP, I understand - I held out longer on a smartphone than many/most of my DC's friends' parents. Apps too - there's no WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook etc yet, even now as a young teenager. It's not always been an easy choice swimming against the tide but I feel I have to parent my DC, not be dictated to by others' decisions about their kids. You can always take back or restrict her phone if you think that's best - having it isn't written in stone now, especially at only 10. I would deal with this incident, use it as a learning curve with her, and then closely monitor it from now on to make sure she's ok. If not, rethink the smartphone for a couple more years.

Our other rule is no tech in the bedroom. I don't want the DC up there alone and upset if something nasty does get sent, especially just before bedtime or overnight.

We should all be safe from bullying in our bedrooms and homes, DCs especially so.

Walkingdeadfangirl Fri 20-Apr-18 01:39:28

Is no one aware that musicly is used by paedophiles to prey on children, why is anyone allowing this.

ittakes2 Fri 20-Apr-18 01:40:59

One of the best things I did to help my son develop his confidence after being bullied was to develop a friendship group outside of school. He still has his school friends - but it meant this school friends were not his whole world and he wasn't crushed if something was said...he could take a step back and spend time with his out of school friends.

If I was you, I would let the school know but say you just want to monitor it - hopefully if your daughter stays confident around this girl and it might go away. But if it doesn't, then you could escalate it with this school. I would also make sure your daughter reduces contact with this girl as much as possible.

I have also been on some great parenting workshops where they looked at body language in the playground - stand tall and confident with eye contact as opposed to looking down and shy as unfortunately this makes children a target for the bullies. They also taught children how to look at bullies like the bully was an idiot...it was a way of making the bully feel bad without publicly shaming them which can make them more angry and bully the child more.

Good luck with your daughter.

BlackBeltInChildWrangling Fri 20-Apr-18 01:50:29

Yes, and so many things on the Internet are used that way Walking. I think that's why the age restrictions, parental controls and education at home, school and youth groups about grooming and bullying are essential.

LeilaBriggs Fri 20-Apr-18 02:01:12

I think 10 is a little young for a smartphone and apps, and to be able to deal with all it can involve as you are finding out.

Can I just say, I disagree with this. At least when kids are bullied on social media, we as parents are more likely to see it. Better this than being bullied in the school loos, on the way home, etc. where we have no visibility.

OP, jump on this. We have had problems in the past with our DS. One particular child was being very nasty to DS and we were very worried about DS's mental health as this child was making DS's life a misery. DH texted this child and asked him to ask his dad to contact DH. He didn't, but this child sent DS a load of messages begging him to tell his dad to stop. Then he never heard from him again.

DD also had some bullying problems recently. I saw the child who was calling her names and I just stared at her. The child kept looking away and looking back and I was still staring at her. Funnily enough, the bullying stopped.

IME schools are reluctant to tackle bullying, I don't know why. So you need to take it into your own hands. I would screenshot the messages and send them to the parent. Say that if it doesn't stop, you will consider a prosecution for cyber crime.

That's what I'd do, anyway.

TheDowagerCuntess Fri 20-Apr-18 02:31:44

Some great advice on this thread.

Our DC are just about to hit this stage, so haven't had to deal with it yet.

My instinct would be to do as Leila (or her DH) did - to just send a message to the persecutor, asking them to have their parent/s get in touch with me.

What do people think of this? Is it likely to make things worse for your child?

Copperbonnet Fri 20-Apr-18 02:43:50

I think Blackbelt abd others have given you some great advice OP.

I would recommend asking the teacher to move your child’s seat. I’ve had experience of a child quietly dripping poisonous comments into my child’s ear during class. It was insidious.

Swapping seats made a huge difference.

If your DD is a little naive, why not take ten minutes to go through texts/messages each night together so that you can discuss any suspect motivations or unkind texts.

I’d also gently but firmly reinforce that she should have brought this to you immediately. She knew these messages weren’t right.

BlackBeltInChildWrangling Fri 20-Apr-18 02:54:03

I think you have to be careful and very restrained about texting the child, but I have done it once and didn't regret it. In our situation, it was an 'inappropriate' text sent to my DC by another young teen. I wanted to nip it in the bud immediately, before it became usual or escalated. I also contacted the parent with screenshots of their DC's text and mine. I didn't hear from the parent beyond an acknowledgement and comment that I shouldn't have texted their DC, but from my knowledge of them I doubt they were too bothered by their DC's behaviour. The guilty party wasn't at all pleased, but it hasn't happened again. My DC was a mixture of a bit cross, a bit embarrassed and actually very relieved/in agreement that I had dealt with it. Just because it's difficult doesn't mean it's the wrong thing to do - quite the opposite sometimes.

BlackBeltInChildWrangling Fri 20-Apr-18 03:25:37

In the OP's case, I would text the child tomorrow morning: Hello X, This is X's mum here. I was checking X's phone and saw your texts. I will be contacting your mum and school, and hopefully you will not be so unkind to X again. X's mum.

At the same time I would screenshot my text and the child's bullying texts, and send them to the mum. I wouldn't enter into discussion, but just say that I thought she should know and hopefully she will deal with it appropriately. There is the proof, if she is one of those silly butter wouldn't melt parents. Who can afford to be one of those?!

To answer the OP's query about the teacher, I'm a great believer in starting a papertrail asap in case things do escalate. A reasonable and calm letter or email with screenshots of the child's texts and the OP's text to the child and parent. But, I would follow it up with a quiet word with the teacher, especially as the OP seems to have a good relationship and respect for them. I would definitely want to know what happened to the photo too, and for it to be deleted.

Best of luck OP. Keep calm and keep being a great mum flowersgincakebrew

LeilaBriggs Fri 20-Apr-18 03:28:17

That’s a really good text, @BlackBeltInChildWrangling. And a good idea to send copies to parent.

BlackBeltInChildWrangling Fri 20-Apr-18 03:39:17

Some great advice and action taken by it, Leila and Copper above. I think the issue with smartphones is that they provide an extra way of bullying, in addition to the IRL ways. And there's little escape or respite as it can come right into the home and bedroom.

There's too much of me on this thread, so time I departed before someone fetches the Shepherd's Crook! Night all.

Pengggwn Fri 20-Apr-18 06:15:15

'This is hungryhippoDD's mum. Do not message my daughter again. These messages are going to the school.'

And take the phone in.

She is too young for a smartphone, by the way! Agree with other posters.

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