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Cyber Bullies and Trolls- The Day I was Attacked

After years of being part of the blogging community I’ve heard and seen some pretty nasty comments and online situations. Bloggers attacking other bloggers, readers leaving mean comments and trolls, oh the trolls. Luckily, I’ve managed to avoid it ever happening to me. I knew someday it would, it’s was just inevitable and last week it finally happened but not in the way I thought it would or who I thought it would come from. Teenage boys. Yes, you heard it right, I was attacked by teenage boy trolls! Here’s what happened…

My four year old son is into scooters big time. You’ll find him most afternoons at the skate park with his Dad practicing his moves and tricks. He watches you tube clips on scooting, it’s his thing and he just loves it. A couple of weeks ago he’d worn out the grip on his scooter so hubby ordered him a new one from Scooter Hut. When it arrived in the mail there was a leaflet to enter a competition to win $500 to spend at Scooter Hut. My son really wanted to enter and we were happy for him to (because let me tell you, scooter stuff can get expensive). It involved taking a pic of his purchase in an ‘inventive way’ and sharing it on Instagram. So we came up with an idea, the little man helped me design it and we snapped the pic. Then early Saturday morning this happened….

Scooter Hut, winner, www.sarahdipity.com.au

We totally won! I told my son the good news. He was quite literally jumping up and down with excitement. “We won, we won mummy!” You could not wipe the smile of his kids. It was all happy, happy, joy, joy until…the trolls came out in force. By the end of the day I’d lost count of how many teenage boys had followed my account and left nasty comments. Here’s just a little snapshot:

“Dude, it’s like a Mum’s page, you should give it to someone else. She’s probably never gonna use it”

“Her son is like 2 years old, this is bullshit”

“Why would you pick some little ass kid who doesn’t even know how to scoot”

“What a wank”

“Such a fuckin joke”

And it went on and on. At first, I was legitimately shocked. Then I laughed, because honestly, it was laughable. And then I was just plain annoyed. I was annoyed that for the next twenty four hours I had to continually check my account to block the little buggers and delete their comments. I was annoyed by their nastiness, their sense of entitlement and their lack of sportsmanship. I mean seriously we entered a competition, we won fair and square and here they were beating up on an innocent four year old boy!

Luckily my son isn’t old enough to read or understand what went on but it does make me scared for the future- when he will be old enough and he will have to deal something like this, probably worse. Because just as sure as I was that I would one day face the trolls, I’m just as sure that he is growing up in a world where the use of social media for cyber bullying has become the norm. And that’s really sad and damn scary. So it’s got me thinking about how I will prepare and manage that in the future. The fact that all of these kids were so young (some not even teenagers yet) and they already have instagram accounts that clearly aren’t being monitored by their parents; well it just shows the kind of tech savvy world my son will be growing up in. My instinct of course will always be to protect him but more than that I need to teach him to protect himself, because the thing about these trolls is that they can follow you everywhere, into your own home, and your own bedroom without anyone even knowing, unless you speak out.

I do have to add that amongst all the hate there were some nice words; some kids that congratulated us on winning the prize and said we did a great job. Man I hope my son grows up to be like those kids. Those kids were great!

Parents of older children I’d love to hear how you manage this? What do you do to ensure your kids are protected from cyber bullies and trolls? Would love to hear your advice!

blog signature, www.sarahdipity.com.auA big thank you to Scooter Hut for our amazing prize! The competition runs every month and if you have a scooter loving child I encourage you to enter- haters are always gonna hate but winners will always be grinners!

 

 

 

 

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Habit, Addiction and The Challenge

Hands up if you’re one of those people that spends way too much time on their phone; checking emails, scrolling through social media, posting pics online? Yep, me too. When your four year old son tells you to “put down your phone mummy and look at me” you know there’s a problem. Granted, showing me the giant booger in his nose probably could’ve waited until I sent that email, but still.

So last week, interested to see just how much time I actually am spending on my phone, I decided to install the ‘moment’ app on my phone. Moment is a free app which will track how many minutes a day you spend on your phone as well as how many times you actually pick up your phone. Then it breaks it all down into a daily timeline that looks something like this…

Moment App, www.sarahdipity.com.au

And let me say, it is damn interesting and a real eye opener! I discovered that on average, I’m spending about two hours per day on my phone. I wasn’t really surprised and honestly, I know it’s not as bad as what it could be (compared to others I know!) But two hours out of a twelve hour day…well I guess that is a lot. That’s a whole two hours that could be spent doing other more important things. That’s two hours that I could be doing all of that other stuff, like exercising or ticking things off my to do list, that I feel I just don’t ever get the time for.

But the thing that did shock me was how many times I actually pick my phone up; an average of sixty times a day! The majority of those times I spent less than a minute on my phone; so basically I was picking it up, looking at it and putting it straight back down again. That my friends is called habit. Something I learnt about myself by doing this little exercise was that I am addicted to multitasking. I don’t just watch TV; I watch TV whilst scrolling through my phone, whilst replying to an email, whilst playing with my son, whilst reading a magazine. I don’t just cook dinner; I cook dinner, whilst watching TV, whilst posting a pic on instagram, whilst paying my bills online and emptying the dishwasher. I am actually incapable of doing just one thing at a time! So when I find myself on the couch, or sitting in traffic, or waiting at kinder pick up, my immediate reaction is to pick up my phone. It’s a habit. But when does habit become addiction? Well I guess I’m about to find out because this week I’m setting myself a challenge. A limit of one hour per day on my phone. That’s it. I think that’s reasonable, do you? Considering that I am a blogger and part of being a blogger means spending time online engaging with my readers, I know it’s just unreasonable to set myself a limit of any less than that. And really, I don’t want to, because I enjoy being online, just not at the detriment of my family, relationships and work in real life.

You can upgrade the ‘moment’ app and use it to set daily limits, block out screen free time or send yourself reminders but for now I’m going to try going it alone and see how that works. So that’s the challenge I’m setting myself and I would really love you all to join in; install the moment app on your phone this week and let me know what you discover; how long are you spending on your phone each day? How many times are you picking it up? Were you surprised? Would you say you’re addicted to your phone? I’d love to be able to compare and discuss with everyone what you think is a reasonable daily limit. Head on over to my Facebook page where I’ll be keeping you updated with my progress and will be asking about yours too!

Will you accept the challenge?

blog signature, www.sarahdipity.com.au

 

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