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‘Wag Lang Anak’: Melai Cantiveros Won’t Let Anyone Get Away With Threatening Her Daughters
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM /MRANDMRSFRANCISCO
  • Melai Cantiveros is not going to let anyone threaten her daughters. On March 26, the host and comedian posted on her social media channels, asking for help in locating a social media user who wrote a cruel comment on their family’s official Facebook Page, Melason.

    Based on the screenshots Melai shared, the commenter cursed Melai and Jason’s daughters saying, “SUMPAIN MGA ANAK MO GAGA… ISA ITONG MAGNANAKAW.. PINALAKI SA NAKAW NG MGA MAGULANG.”

    Curse words were used against Melai. Another comment from the same user writes, “MAMAMATAY BATANG ITO PINALAKI SA PAGNANAKAW.. HAHAHA SUMPAIN PAMILYA MO PANGIT.”

    It is evident that the comment is brought about by political differences. The user includes Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s name in his comments. Melai has been proudly sharing that her presidential bet is Vice President Leni Robredo and she also hosts campaign rallies.

    Some Facebook users noticed the threats left on Melason’s Facebook page, saying that while they support the same presidential candidate as the user who has left threats, it is not right to include children.

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    Jason Francisco could not help but reply, “Ok lng kame n lng sana - kung di nyo po tanggap ang sinusuportahan ng asawa ko - kaht ako idmay na ok lng po un - wag lng anak - alam nyu dn yan bilang magulang - napaka sakit.”

    Melai makes it clear that the comment is not considered bashing. “Hindi bash yan, pagbabanta yan. Magbasa ka.” She then includes a screenshot of the comment and underlines the following: “MAKITA LANG NAMIN KAYO SA LAYAS LALIT KASAMA MO MGA ANAK MO… Mamatay na Sana MGA anak mo.. isusumpa KO yan”

    When parents must step in

    UNICEF Philippines published in 2019 that online bullying remains prevalent in the Philippines. A 2016 national survey reveals that “cyberviolence affects almost half of children aged 13-17.”“

    Violence against children, in all forms including online bullying or cyberbullying, has devastating effects on the physical and emotional wellbeing of young people. This can create lasting emotional and psychological scars, even physical harm,” UNICEF reports.

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    It adds, “It is particularly challenging to address since children are vulnerable and have easy access to the internet, making them easy targets of online violence.”

    In the case of Melai and Jason, whose daughters Mela and Stela are both under 10 years old, it is likely that the children are not able to read such threats if they do not manage their own social media accounts or have access to those of their parents’.

    However, just because their children cannot access this doesn’t mean parents should let such go. Had these words been said out loud to any child by an adult, it would clearly count as violence against women and children

    It can be easy for non-celebrities to say public figures should shake it off because “it comes with the territory” however, we must remember that only the parents are personalities. Children of personalities are just kids with famous parents.

    Melai and Jason put things in proper perspective: First, such comments count as a threat, not bashing. Second, political or not, it’s below the belt to include children.

    How you can help your kids deal with negative comments and bullying

    While Melai and Jason’s case is extreme, as parents we can still learn from such situations. Sit down with your child, especially if they are already entrusted with their own social media accounts, and talk about bullying. Because this is a reality both online and offline.

    “Tell an adult” is the oft-used advice, but it can be hard for kids to do so without breaking it down.

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    PACER Center, a Minnesota-based organization that champions children with disabilities gives this guide:

    How do you tell an adult when a child is being bullied?

    1. You may be thinking:

    - Will anything change if I tell?

    - Would I be a tattletale?

    - I don’t want to get anyone in trouble.

    - Know that bullying is a big deal and you have the right to speak up and be heard.

    2. Who should you talk to?

    Give your kids a list of trusted adults like parents, teachers, coaches, other family members

    3. What do you say?

    Give them the words:

    - “I think someone might be bullying me or someone I know, will you help me?”

    - “I want to tell you about something that happened, can we talk more?”

    - “Somebody did something that made me feel _____” (sad, hurt, mad, embarrassed, worried, scared)

    Remind kids that it can be hard to tell an adult, but their feelings are important and so is their story.

    A call to parents: let’s not normalize bullying

    There’s another parenting lesson to learn from this incident, and that is to remember that this kind of violent behavior online starts somewhere. When we allow bullying to be normal in our families and at home, we model to our children that the behavior is acceptable.

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