No one is immune from bullying -- not the rich, beautiful, thin, nor famous. Michael Jackson's daughter, Paris, is all of that, but it reportedly isn't stopping Paris from being mercilessly bullied on Facebook regarding her father, his child molestation allegations, and her unconventional upbringing. Sources tell TMZ that this bullying is behind Paris's reported penchant for cutting, as well as her suicide attempt.
Thank heaven there was no Facebook around when I was a kid. Back then, you got bullied in person. That meant that when you got home, there was a break from it. Some peace and quiet. When school closed for the summer, you again could leave behind whatever troubles you had in school.
Not anymore. Now they follow you everywhere, thanks to the Internet and social media.
Reportedly, Paris's family wants her to stay off Facebook, but they fear that as soon as she gets out of the hospital, she'll be back on it. Paris has dozens of public fan pages, and there is also a Paris Jackson private FB page, though no telling if it's definitely her.
Apparently Paris's family has tried to shut down her FB page, but to no avail, since FB won't shut down a page without the person's permission if he or she is over 13.
I think parents are all too willing to let their kids have a Facebook page -- understandable, since they themselves probably have one. But adults, for the most part, can handle the sniping and idiocy on FB. Teens are another matter. They are much more vulnerable to taking online attacks seriously -- hell, their brains aren't fully formed!
Experts recommend that parents be aware of all the dangers of social media and keep strict tabs on kids and teens who use it. Even if that means getting your kid's password. Parents can also try to monitor usage, but that is more difficult now with cellphones making Facebook log-ins easy from anywhere.
There really is no surefire way of keeping kids safe from online bullying other than keeping them offline. But a few recommendations:
- Talk to kids about online bullying, to report it, and how to not escalate it. If they begin getting into online wars, delete their accounts.
- Insist on their password.
- Try to restrict usage to certain times -- and times when you can be around to monitor usage.
- Talk to them about how bullies bully because they are insecure, sad, and hurting people to make themselves feel better.
- Let them know that high school ends and things gets much better. Or should, at least!
What do you try to protect your kids from online bullying?
Image via Instagram