What happens when your child gets trolled? When they say to you “why would someone say that? How could they be so horrible?”
Here’s what I recently told my teenage son on how to deal with trolls
When people write vile and contemptible words via social media, often anonymously, there is a tendency to want to seek out the perpetrator, hound them down and make them accountable for their insidious remarks. Of course we know how this usually ends. A continuous barrage of insults, more scathing comments and a never ending cycle of back and forth dialogue full of hatred and scorn. That’s pretty much how it ended up on my sons social media feed recently. After posting a heartfelt tribute on what would have been his sisters birthday he was inundated with messages of support and love from friends and followers wanting to share a little of his pain. “Here for you bro” was the general gist of the many many comments he received.
I can’t even repeat, but suffice to say it led to the aforementioned friends amping up the support for my son whilst continuing in their quest to make the troll pay for his comment. A natural reaction from teenage boys….or anyone really.
But here’s what I told my son when he asked me why someone would do that.
This person is in a world of pain themselves. That is my only explanation. We have to find it in our hearts to feel for this person. I asked my son if he could ever imagine himself writing anything like that. He said never ever could he imagine having to stoop so low. ‘That is why you are the lucky one here.” I told him. “Because you don’t know what it feels like to be so desperate for something…love, attention, whatever it is, you can’t even put yourself in this persons shoes. And for now that’s a good thing. Be grateful that is not you. Be thankful for all the wonderful friends and support you do have. It is in no way acceptable behaviour. But somehow find it in your heart to understand the pain that someone must be in themselves, to do as this person has done”.
I also told him to prepare to see these sorts of comments again and again. Because there will always be people who are hurting.