Is it us or has online shaming become expected from all of us? We admit we can be critical and, yes, judgmental, in our private moments. But to be plain mean to someone that you don't know personally and do it online? To what end? What is the purpose? Mom shaming, in particular, is something we just don't get. Is a kind word really that difficult?
Just this week, celebrity mom Bianca Gonzalez-Intal had to defend (!) her and her six-month-old daughter's skin color, saying that being morena is nothing to be ashamed of. Why even pick on a baby? New mom Chrissy Teigen was also flooded with judgy comments because she and her husband John Legend went out to dinner nine days after giving birth to their daughter, Luna Simone. And then Beyonce's fans started bashing this fashion designer on the assumption that she was the "other woman" Beyonce was talking about in her new album.
We're glad that Bianca and Chrissy hit back and did not let other people's negativity affect their lives. They had the courage to speak up about "social media graces," and, hopefully, they will serve as inspiration to ordinary people to stand up against cyberbullies.
So, as a reminder for all of us to stop shaming, here are five things you need to keep in mind when posting on social media. Remember, kids learn more from what they see rather than what you tell them. Make sure you walk the talk.
1 Social media is an extension of you. Just because you're using an alias or you're not interacting physically doesn't mean your words hurt less. Words can sting, so be careful what you put out there. If you can't say in person or out loud, then don’t post it.
2 Side with the facts. It's important to check and double-check your source and information. Is the website you got it from credible? Did you read all the side in the story? The Internet is a treasure trove of information, but not all of them are reliable, so be extra vigilant about what you share. You may just be spreading gossip and lies.
3 Practice empathy. Think first what would you feel if you were in the other person's shoes--and don't automatically say, "If I were X, I would never..." Unless you went through the same thing, you don't fully understand what she is going through. Choose to uplift a person rather then bring him or her down.
4 Be positive. Emotions can run high, but let's try not to let it get the better of us. Step back and look at the situation in a neutral point of view. Always choose to approach a situation with kindness first. Also, know when to stop and just walk away from an argument.
5 Remember respect. Not all people want their lives on social media, so be wary of what you post about other people. Remember also that, just like in real life, you can't please everybody so respect other people's opinion. To each his own. We may all have varying views about something but we can still co-exist peacefully.
Before you click enter or send, ask yourself these five questions:
Is it an informed post?
Is it helpful?
Is it necessary?
Is it inspiring?
Is it kind?
If you check all of these boxes below, then you're good to go.
Have something to add to the story, let us know in the comments below!