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To feel devastated at what our children deal with in their social groups

(19 Posts)
TheCherries Sat 09-Mar-19 01:20:26

Feeling really saddened tonight.

DDs phone has been beeping all night. She is aged 11.

She had been out to her local youth group, come home and had a nice evening chilling with us all. She has been oblivious to her phone and gone to bed. However all night long her phone has been beeping from two different social groups.

One group, classmates from her old school, with a girl having taken a video of another old school friend who appears to have made an error of judgement in this other girl’s eyes regarding how to be her friend and is contacting others separately within the friendship group spreading bad things about her, but from what I can tell it was just arranging a play date with another girl. This girl appears to feel snubbed that is all. The bile that is pouring out of this girl’s mind at 11pm on a Friday night is worrying. Such hatred towards a girl for what appears to be no reason. Such a mixed up mind.

On the second group, from her new school, is a girl also aged 11 egging a peer to come on the her teenage babysitter who is a boy. That she knows she wants to, that she personally does it all the time.
This is all sent to a text group of 20 class mates.

I feel utterly devastated at this. This is not unusual behaviour from one of these groups. At least once a month something as awful as this happens.

I wish I could ban the phone and go back to simpler ways of friendship however it appears to be their only communication channel with one another now. That everyone has a phone. If I can it I effectively ostracise her from her new and old friends.

I have taken the phone away from the downstairs chairing unit where my daughter will often reach for it at 7:30am when she wakes on a weekend to chill out, start catching up with her friends after a busy week at school. I just can’t stand the thought of her lovely young innocent mind being disturbed by these awful mixed up tweens at the point she wakes up.

I just feel sad at the insecurities going around in these girl’s minds. I need to talk this through with my daughter but feel so ill equipped.

Smotheroffive Sat 09-Mar-19 01:30:15

If it wasn't on the phone it would be being talked about.

Some are sadly already heading down an awful road, and exposed to shocking abuses.

If this is an 11 yo who you suspect is sexually active I would involve the police frankly.

If your DD has her head on straight she won't be aligning herself to their activities, and will probably say something offhand like, oh she's always doing stuff like that, or such like

They will watch others make terrible decisions for themselves, and it is all happening at that age
Her age of innocence is gone, but chat to her about what her thoughts are around her friends suggestion. I would also keep phones away from sleep hours, something for after family breakfasts.

Smotheroffive Sat 09-Mar-19 01:34:16

Btw, what are your rules around monitoring her phone?

Smileymoon Sat 09-Mar-19 02:25:09

I would take the phone. It is not entertaining for a child to wake up to read a load of bullying. I would just tell her somebody was being awful on it and you don't want her reading that sort of thing. Maybe have a chat about there never being a need to be mean to other people.

ADHMeeee Sat 09-Mar-19 02:48:20

I sometimes wonder what my 11 year old is seeing and typing on her phone. Again, like you, she has new and old friends on there, I also need her to be able to contact me while she's at secondary because she walks home with a friend (and they both get intermittent probs from a group of boys from their year). So I wouldn't want to remove it.

I'm sorry your DD has friends posting those things.

mathanxiety Sat 09-Mar-19 03:17:28

You should contact the school of the child who claims to be sexually active. There is a safeguarding issue here.

If you see bullying or exclusion by phone, you should contact the schools involved and state what you saw, naming the culprits. Many schools will try to address issues of this sort.

I don't think you can take the phone - as you say it leaves her with no way to maintain friendships (horrific though some of the people in the pool are).

Please keep lines of communication open with your DD and encourage her to let you monitor her phone. You can discuss the poor decision making you see going on, and you can discuss the personality defects of girls who are so into drama. It can be a teaching tool. Keep calm - DD is relying on you to be able to take everything in your stride.

FWIW, the years from 11 to 13/14 are absolutely the worst years a parent of girls will have to endure ime. After that, the intensity of focus on the opinion of the queen bees tends to fade.

Make sure your DD has solid, loving family relationships, and try to give her healthy outlets or opportunities to gather a group of friends around her who share your family's values. Get her into some sort of sport, either team or individual (martial arts for instance), or a drama group or musical ensemble. Maybe you and she could do some volunteering? She is too young for the DofE Award but it is something to keep at the back of your mind as she gets older.

mathanxiety Sat 09-Mar-19 03:20:26

flowers to you BTW.

Responsible parenting is such an uphill slog but it is the most important job you will ever do.

Mummyoflittledragon Sat 09-Mar-19 04:22:01

Oh my. I imagine your dd is first year of secondary. All of that sounds very intense.

I agree with contacting the school about the girl, who is being babysat. As for the girl spreading gossip about another friend, this is cyber bullying so again a school issue. It sounds as though all these children need far more support than they are receiving.

Are you not monitoring your dds phone? My dd is yr6. She knows I can look at it at any time. I will continue to monitor it for some time yet. Right now it’s very innocent chats but I imagine that will change in secondary. As the parent, it is your responsibility to guide your child. Not doing so puts her at risk of being involved in the type of convos as op has discussed..... and worse. Grooming for example.

TheCherries Sat 09-Mar-19 09:23:52

Thanks all.

Celeriacacaca Sat 09-Mar-19 09:39:27

Mummy, why should cyber bullying be a school issue? Schools have enough on their plates to deal with. This should be a parental issue surely. I wish parents would take more responsibility- call a meeting of all the parents or whatever to discuss what is going on but leave the school to deal with learning.
I dealt with cyber bullying this way, without involving the school, and I think it was a far more effective way to do so. We're happy to give our children these powerful tools eg phones, social media but then expect someone else to deal with it when it goes wrong!!

I agree re reporting the sexual commentary as that could be a symptom of abuse and needs further investigation.

CouldBeAnyoneReally Sat 09-Mar-19 09:50:13

Do you know all the parents of your secondary school age children then? Because I certainly don’t. I know the parents of friends from primary and one or two from secondary, but these (WhatsApp?) groups often have half the year group in them!

ninjawarriorsocks Sat 09-Mar-19 10:09:17

flowers I understand what you are saying OP. It’s very difficult and because it’s not something I had to deal with as a child I do feel unequipped sometimes too. I think what you are doing sounds good.
Keep an eye on her phone, keep it downstairs in the evening and certainly never in the bedroom at night - I think the worst messages DD got were from late-night messaging. Keep talking, keep the dialogue open.
Remind her not to get involved in spats online - things get taken out of proportion, girls get themselves worked up, and an innocent comment get taken the wrong way. My DD said to me ‘I stay out of it when there’s beef going on!’ (Apparently ‘beef’ means an argument...)

Remind her that if there’s ever anything she reads that she is concerned or upset about she can come speak to you, and you won’t be judgemental (eg if she shows you a mean message and you remove the phone for a week then she won’t show you next time)

Unfortunately we can’t shield them from the world but we can give them the tools and strength of mind to not be drawn into it all.

As others have said, give her activities outside of school and away from these friendship groups, and then they won’t be such a big deal.

Hopefully with a loving home, some calm guidance from you, she’ll be able to navigate this.

ninjawarriorsocks Sat 09-Mar-19 10:17:04

Also the mean girl friendship stuff is nothing new - it’s the same as we had - just that phones make it easier for these issues to escalate and carry on into weekends/evenings so there’s less escape from it. Make sure she’s not on her phone all the time, give her limits so she has time off from it. Maybe the whole family could have no-screen time. Set a good example (eg we have a rule of no phones at dinner time, adults included)
For a book about girl friendships I do recommend this:
It’s been updated to include a section on technology.

Livelovebehappy Sat 09-Mar-19 10:21:03

Girl friendships as they go into secondary school and beyond can be awful, so prepare yourself for a few years of emotional drama OP. Teen girls especially can be so cruel with each other. It’s dog eat dog and survival of the fittest I’m afraid. Been there and got the T-shirt with my on dd.

ninjawarriorsocks Sat 09-Mar-19 11:22:26

Re school - they probably don’t have the time to get involved in every online spat (unless there’s safeguarding / serious bullying going on), but it would be worth raising with them that you are concerned about some of the things you’ve seen on your DDs phone. Do the school cover social media / online safety at school in PSE? Sounds like this group would benefit from additional input from school, as it doesn’t seem some of the girls are getting guidance at home if they are allowed to be messaging that late at night.

ninjawarriorsocks Sat 09-Mar-19 11:25:39

Also reading back the message about the 11 year old girl coming on to a babysitter is very worrying (and so sad) - personally I would be mentioning this to a teacher - in case there’s a bigger picture here.

Goldenbear Sat 09-Mar-19 11:43:19

I agree but I have an 11.5 year old boy who loved primary school was sociable and popular where his humour and kindness were likeable characteristics but this has all changed at secondary school- it's a Lion's den. With boys it seems the only way to get on is relational aggression. Last term my DS made some friends at his new school and they were awful to him, so e disgusting language on the phone, it resulted in them being very unkind so he has removed himself from the group. He has one good friend at the school but no one else as he doesn't engage in the phone stuff anymore.

FredFlinstoneMadeOfBones Sat 09-Mar-19 11:58:57

If it wasn't on the phone it would be being talked about.

I think this is only partially true. Kids would still talk, not always nicely, but usually in smaller groups and if something unpleasant happens it's left at school.

EvaHarknessRose Sat 09-Mar-19 12:25:02

I would say gosh your phone was beeping away last night, later we’ll sit down and look at the messages together (when you do this,do more asking her about what she feels about what she sees, and less telling her what you think).

Then do a contract with her if you haven’t already (sounds like you’re good at keeping it downstairs) eg
‘Post messages that are true to your values’
‘Do not join or initiate in any bullying communications - things that seem funny can be hurtful’.
‘You can be a good influence on others, so stick up for what’s right’
‘No instagram until 13, no snapchat until x’
‘Don’t send a message you wouldn’t be happy justifying to your head teacher - remember, I will be reading your messages from time to time, and so will other people’s parents, brothers and sisters, openly or secretly, and your friend can show anyone your message any time’
‘If you get something wrong, I’d rather know about it and help you deal with it’
‘But if I find you’ve done something outside the rules and you don’t come to me first, there will be a consequence (coming off the groupchat).’
If you agree to these values and rules, you can use a phone, if not, we’ll have to think again.

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