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Did I punish my 9yo too harshly for 'cyber bullying'?

(25 Posts)
Scrumple Sun 05-Mar-17 12:03:04

My daughter has a a tablet. Almost everyone in her class has their own phone (she is one of the youngest in her year, not that i agree even 10yos should have phones unsupervised) and many of them have social media like instagram, snapchat etc.

My daughter has been pestering me for the best part of 6 months to be able to have some form of social media too so she can fit in with the other girls in her class. She has high functioning autism and zero friends. She desperately wants to blend in.

After a lot of research, I came across an app called Kudos. Comments are not allowed. But you can join fan clubs and like various photos. And everything that my daughter posts or fan clubs that she joins, i get an email notification about immediately. I spoke through all the rules with my daughter and imposed some of my own:

*No accepting friend requests.
*No posting pictures of yourself
*Ask me before joining any fan groups or posting any pictures

So for the past week, it's been ticking along quite nicely and she's been posting pictures of her cuddly toys to a 'cuddly toy' fan club and pictures of her Taylor Swift posters to the Taylor Swift fan club.

But today i noticed she had joined a fan club for a singer that neither of us know. A young teenage guy. And my daughter had posted just a blank photo (close up of our carpet) in order to attach the caption: "don't know who this loser is but he sounds like a freak!"

I deleted it immediately after getting the email notification about this.

I told her that it was cyber bullying.

I made her write out a full A4 page about why cyber bullying is bad and how she feels about what she has done.

I made her write an apology letter to the teenage singer she insulted and his fans (i pretended i would post this to his 'agent')

I then told her all the consequences of cyber bullying and got her to watch a short film (10 mins) about it on Youtube.

I then made her delete the app. And told her that quite obviously she is much too young, despite this app being made for people her age.

This last punishment has upset her the most as all her photos have gone that she posted to the various fan clubs.

She's now in her room crying her eyes out. My mum's coming to sit with her at 12ish as i need to leave for work. I phoned her earlier to warn her my daughter is in a bit of a state and i was told off by my own mum for coming down too hard on her!

I genuinely thought i was doing the right thing. And i really think this will stick with my daughter and she'll think twice about making awful comments online if she ever gets access to social media again when she's older.

I'm just wondering what other parents would have done? And if i'll ruin everything by going and speaking to her just now to try to soothe her? I don't want her to think that what she did was acceptable. And i thinks she's more upset about the app being deleted than feeling guilty.

therealpippi Sun 05-Mar-17 12:10:26

I am with you. Totally.

Not too harsh in my op and sets things straight for the future.

ferriswheel Sun 05-Mar-17 12:12:23

I agree with you. Well done.

GeorgeTheHamster Sun 05-Mar-17 12:12:58

No, you did the right thing. Ride it out.

timeforabrewnow Sun 05-Mar-17 12:20:13

I don't agree and think the punishment/s were waaay over the top. Your daughter sounds lonely and made one bad comment.

Making her write a full A4 sheet??

RyanStartedTheFire Sun 05-Mar-17 12:26:41

No you did the right thing, not over the top either. If parents were proactive, bullying wouldn't be such a big issue.

SloanyAnne Sun 05-Mar-17 12:27:31

I would have stopped short of deleting the app but I would have made it clear that I would be monitoring everything from now on and that her online behaviour would need to be exemplary. 2 strikes and she'd be out.

Userone1 Sun 05-Mar-17 12:32:23

Personally I think watching the film on cyber bullying and your disapproval was enough.

I wouldn't have deleted the app, as she now doesn't have the opportunity to learn to behaviour in a more appropriate way.

exLtEveDallas Sun 05-Mar-17 12:34:41

I don't think you have done wrong, but I would have done a 'second strike' thing too. It's how I have always dealt with DD - she gets one 'telling off' that follows a 'think about what you have done and how it effects others ' route and the second time it's a proper punishment. So far we've never had a 'third'.

So in your case it would have been the writing about it, then if it happened again the app would have been deleted and internet privileges revoked.

NerrSnerr Sun 05-Mar-17 12:34:47

I would have let her keep the app so that she can prove she has learned her lesson and not do it again. I'd personally make it a final warning and any more cyber bullying and it's deleted.

CountClueless Sun 05-Mar-17 12:35:01

I think you made a mistake letting a 9 year old access social media, and then punished her very harshly the instant she put a foot wrong, which was always going to happen. You set her up to fail, and then went OTT on punishing her.
She's 9. She shouldn't have been able to upload photos to the internet with comments in the first place. You should punish yourself.

ScrapThatThen Sun 05-Mar-17 12:35:24

She has shown she is too young.

steppemum Sun 05-Mar-17 12:35:49

well, you could have done less, or you could have done more, it doesn't really matter, the point is what you did made very clear that this is not allowed.

The boundaries are very hard to negotiate at this age and they have to have them spelt out clearly. You are protecting her for the future.

If you feel you have been too harsh, you could allow her to earn back the right to the app over a month or so.

myoriginal3 Sun 05-Mar-17 12:36:31

Well done. I would come down equally as hard.

Pity a few adult posters aren't given similar lessons.

She'll get over it, but I guarantee she will think twice before doing it again.

PollytheDolly Sun 05-Mar-17 12:37:45

You well and truly nipped it in the bud before it could flourish. Of course she's upset but lesson learned.

Good on you!

gamerchick Sun 05-Mar-17 12:38:35

Na i'm with you, it has to be stamped out quite harshly quickly.

I would let her 'earn' the app back though so she has a chink of hope. Then when she gets it back keep a close eye on her activity to see if the message has stuck.

FATEdestiny Sun 05-Mar-17 12:38:38

Is she Year 5?

I think it's over the top. I would have sought out a few YouTube infomercials and watched them together. Talk through the videos and relate them to the comment she made.

You are punishing her for not understanding the nature of cyber bullying.

You did not educate her on it, you just assumed she would know. Then when she didn't, you've gone way over the top for something which, ultimately, is your failing.

I would educate.
Then await assurance that she now understands.
Then allow her to prove she understands (by using the site again).
Then set expectations ofcwhat will happen if she does anytjing similar again. Now she is educated on the matter, she has no excuses.

You've done nothing to help her develop online responsibility by anything ypu have done.

JennyOnAPlate Sun 05-Mar-17 12:38:59

I probably would have stopped short of deleting the app and just taken the tablet away for a week.

You definitely did the right thing in coming down hard though op flowers

Glossolalia Sun 05-Mar-17 12:39:54

Did you ask why she posted that? Did she say that because people have said things like this to her?

I think it was a bit OTT, but I totally understand you wanting to be really tough at the beginning so that she won't be as quick to post things like that in the future.

myoriginal3 Sun 05-Mar-17 12:40:17

Reading back however, I would agree with her earning the app back. Peer approval is important. She will no doubt be a bit more circumspect in future.

mummytime Sun 05-Mar-17 12:40:20

I think you were too harsh.

What are you doing to help your DD develop social skills and make friends?
You can't be surprised she gets it wrong if you don't clearly help her learn the rules before hand. Why did she post that? Was she copying someone else or doing something someone had dared her to?

user1471521456 Sun 05-Mar-17 12:47:22

A4 essay - Mr yr5 would struggle to write an A4 essay so I would consider this a bit harsh and would probably have had a long conversation instead, but if yours is capable, then it's not unreasonable.

Apology letter - fine

Video - fine

Deleting app - I wouldn't have deleted the app, although I might have banned it for a week or two. I would want to give her the chance to learn from her mistake, especially while you still have a great deal of control over exactly what she is doing so you can ensure that she has learnt.

FWIW, you sound like you are totally on top of what your DD is accessing and doing a great job.

insan1tyscartching Sun 05-Mar-17 12:54:52

As a parent to two children with ASD I'd say you were too harsh. It's not really helping her learn by punishing her after she got something wrong. I'd say she needs help and support to learn about social interaction both in real life and online rather than punishment.

Maverickismywingman Sun 05-Mar-17 12:58:42

I wish more parents treated cyber bullying as you have.

Scrumple Sun 05-Mar-17 18:45:13

Thanks for all of your input. Have been thinking about it all afternoon and worrying at work that she's been crying all afternoon. But, not long home, and she's in a relatively cheerful mood. So, no permanent damage done (to her).

We have talked a lot about cyber bullying over the past few months. As this has been my reason that I've given her for not allowing her to have instagram and snapchat like the other girls in her class have. I was worried about her being a victim of cyber bullying. So she did know the rights and wrongs of it prior to today's 'event'.

The reason she gave me for doing it is because she hadn't gotten any 'likes' recently on any of her fan club photos from the other children in those fan clubs so she wanted to post something a bit controversial in order to see if people would agree with her that this singer was a 'freak'. I told her that her logic didn't make any sense. It was a fan club for this boy so of course no one other than bullies would post or like anything negative about him!

Thanks so much again for your advice and support on this.

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