'Bully Mom' Online Trend An Emerging Problem, Expert Says
TULSA, Oklahoma - It's no secret kids bully other kids, even grown-ups bully each other sometimes, but now there is a new bully on the block.
The new trend is moms who pick on the kids who are picking on their kids.
We try to teach kids about bullying with slogans like “stand up and speak out” or “report it, don't support it.” But sometimes it doesn't stop, so parents are getting involved, and not always in the best way.
Bullying has certainly changed over time. Years ago, if kids were picked on at school, they could go home for the night and feel safe.
Now bullying is commonly online, which means it's 24-7, 365 days a year. They can't get away from it.
Frustrated parents say they talk to their kids, and schools, but when it seems nothing is being done some are taking matters into their own hands by going directly after the other child.
Anti-bullying collaboration director, Steve Hahn said the new trend is an emerging problem.
Lori: "Is it ever okay for a parent to pick on a kid?"
Hahn: "It's not. It's abuse. If you have an adult picking on a kid in this way it is child abuse. Verbal abuse, absolutely. Cyber-attacks, absolutely. Harassing someone online, intimidating someone online, threatening someone online, it's abusive behavior and can be criminal."
Hahn said he understands a mama bear's need to protect her cub, but said it's better to help your child deal with their bully by reporting them to school leaders and social media sites and deleting, hiding and blocking the bully.
And, if you decide to confront the other child's parent, control your emotions.
"Is the other parent going to be agreeable? Defensive? If your child has been harassed or threatened you need to reach out to police," Hahn said.
He said it's easy to be aggressive online because we feel disconnected to the person on the other end. But it's important to remember there is a person, especially if you're talking to a child.
Lori: "So what should a parent do if their child is being bullied? What are their options?"
Hahn: "Use common sense online. If you wouldn't say it to the person in public, to their face, you might not type it into social media."
Hahn said the best way to get kids to stop being mean is for us to model good behavior and good social skills in person and online because kids tend to copy our actions.