It seems every week now, a new story is surfacing of a child who died by suicide after being bullied at school and via social media.
Today I bring you a plea from another mom, Leigh Davey, who wrote the following post as her bullied child lie in a hospital bed, thankfully still alive.
I promise you, friends, I HATE writing these stories. I also promise you I will keep writing them until I no longer have to.
One way to prevent stories from these from happening is to STOP giving kids access to smartphones and social media at such a young age. Listen to what this devastated mom wrote from her daughter’s bedside and shared on Facebook:
“Our beautiful girl has been subjected to some awful bullying at school. It’s been a very private [seven] months for us, dealing with this, immediate family only.
In this age of social media, children (because they are children) think it’s ok to send hateful messages (to me also along with their parents who won’t take responsibility) without consequences. I’ve had calls from these children calling me an old hag because I’ve defended our daughter, approached parents and pleaded with them to talk with their children and ask them to stop. I’ve even approached the children themselves, but been threatened by parents with harassment.
The WA department of education doesn’t expel children from schools for bullying, as they say: ‘Every child is entitled to an education.’
What about our child’s entitlement?
She’s been sent home numerous times after self harming at school. She’s not allowed a pencil sharpener as she takes the blade out and cuts herself.
The WA department of education also told me: ‘You should teach your child how to be resilient against bullies.’ Yes, they said that.
Our girl has had a video taken of her sitting at her desk at school, legs slightly open, with a lovely caption about the smell. It was posted to snapchat. I spent 90 mins with the police as they tried to determine if it was photographing and distribution of pornographic material. Yes, a 12-year-old can be prosecuted if the content breaches certain criteria. Sadly our daughter’s didn’t, but she was subjected to weeks of ridicule. Repercussions? The girl who posted the video lost her playtime. The person who took the video? Nothing, because no one would tell who it was.
It’s ok to verbally attack at school because they can get away with it via a screen; so think the same will happen in the real world.
Last week, we spent over 5 hours in A&E with psychiatrists, doctors and nurses, because our girl ‘had a plan to commit suicide’. On Tuesday, I am in court applying for a VRO against a 12-year-old to keep her (the bully) away from our beautiful girl — all because parents don’t accept responsibility for their children and schools can only do so much.
The school has a safety plan for the bullied child, our daughter. And the bully? She only loses recess and lunch privileges. This is infant school punishment!
Please, in this awful age of social media (or anti social media as we call it) check your children’s messages. Their devices are a privilege, nothing more, nothing less, so please make sure they are being polite and respectful in their messages. Teach the children to ‘talk’ not use text or social media to air their differences.
Bullying affects the whole family, not just the bullied. It needs to stop and it needs to stop now! Please feel free to share.”
It would certainly appear that the parents of the bullies, in this case, have “not my child” syndrome as described by Mallory Grossman’s mom, Dianne. Parents refuse to blame their children for cruel behavior or assign themselves any responsibility for keeping said behavior in check. Or, it must be said, for providing their kids with access to devices and social media accounts that magnify the destruction.
The video Davey describes taken of her daughter while she was innocently sitting at her desk at school is an excellent example. That NEVER could have happened without a smartphone and a social media account, and it is incredibly cruel. We can teach our kids to be resilient all day long but the human psyche — especially an immature tween one — can only take so much.
Parents, once again, I am BEGGING you. Put yourselves in this mom’s shoes. Summon some empathy, and teach your kids the same. And please, please, please hold them accountable when they screw up. That and NOT giving them early access to smartphones and social can SAVE LIVES. I 100 [percent] believe it.