Online bullies? Online ‘friends’. Anyone you might meet online. For me it’s Facebook but I tweet, insta, and that other one with funny faces too. Sometimes I take a convo off the app into messenger making it 1 on 1. Most recent I’ve met a person who has a different name for everyone; welfare cheats, food program recipients, single moms, anyone receiving any benefits and are not working. Her names were not the ones I’ve written. Each was profoundly mean. Last week after another round of name calling I had had enough of biting my tongue and keyboard. It just spewed as if there wasn’t a filter. Who really knows exactly who is behind the keyboard? I have deliberately left out and pronouns as he, she, him or her from this post because do we really even know if the woman who recently “liked” your Facebook post is a woman or a man?
What are these very same people like in real life? Do they stand in a public space calling the same names? Will they berate another for choosing a different police canadate? Online is a public space even when you choose to limit your posts. Screen shots and tagging will place any words or photos placed online anywhere forever. Be kind because you cannot rewind.
This is not the first person I’ve met who felt a need to share personal beliefs, thoughts and choices. Last fall and throughout the winter there was a great deal of political bashing online. It is not who I am or ever want to be.
In case you are wondering if I was sure it was a real person. It was. I use an app that checks backgrounds. It happened in an online sewing group. If you are not a member, the groups are 99-9/10 filled with women who all believe they are the most creative and best sewer. There aren’t any real friendships or sharing of skills. There is a great deal of in-fighting, name calling, back stabbing and blocking.
Online we must find beauty in others. Verify they are genuine and celebrate a friend found! I am glad my children are grown and I am not responsible for observing their online goings. I am sitting two feet away from my granddaughter at this very moment so I can observe but not spy as she plays an online game. What happens when she wants privacy? What happens when she meets her first online bully? It’s hard enough being in middle school. Sometime I want to return to a time before computers when we actually made friends face to face. Is that possible?