Are Your Children Accidentally Trolling?

 
When you think of a troll online, you picture a very grumpy mean adult sat back making others miserable on purpose don’t you? However are children today accidentally trolling?

 

YouTube

 

I recently did a YouTube video which reached almost 40,000 people. Brilliant yes, or so I thought at first. Then the comments started …

 

‘why are her eyebrows so weird lol, freak’

 

‘Ha ha ha she has a double chin really badly if you look at this bit…’

 

‘Freaky eyebrows’

 

‘Yeah she looks so weird lolz, ugly’

 

That’s just a few of the comments I got in the space of two weeks … there were others. To start with my first thought was urgh I have a troll. A few of the comments were from accounts with no real names and no photos, from spelling mistakes within them I suspected that yes this was one horrible person for those ones.

 

The others … were all from children. Mainly from the looks of it eight or nine-year olds with their own YouTube accounts. Some even had a few of their own videos on there. Don’t worry I wasn’t mean and returned the favour, I’m the adult in this situation, plus I am never mean to anyone especially not people I have never met.

 

I also turned the commenting off in the end, as they were beginning to target other children who were saying nice things about me and I didn’t want to be the reason an argument started or the reason why a child had their own account ‘trolled’.

 

These children though have their own accounts, the ability to comment on other people’s videos and boy are they using that ability.┬áThis isn’t the first time that I have noticed children making personal comments about people on YouTube, but it was the first time it had happened on one of my own.

 

Now when my two were small, I used to find it cute the way that they just came out with whatever was in their heads. Sometimes it was embarrassing, but they were small children and it was to be expected. Though I did teach them about how hurtful comments can be and what was and wasn’t okay to say obviously.

 

It is a little less cute when children take this lack of filter on to the internet and use it to comment on other people’s appearances. Luckily it was me that they commented about, I am old enough and confident enough in myself – seriously I don’t give a damn what my eyebrows look like, there really are more important issues and things in my life ha.

 

I say luckily, because if these children commented on the wrong person’s video or on another child’s video and said these things or worse, then they could be hurtful and even harmful. Not to mention if they annoyed the wrong sort of person, they then could find themselves trolled themselves.

 

I’m not actually saying these children are trolls, as to me by definition a troll hurts on purpose, in fact they live to hurt people with their words in my experience.

 

What I am saying though, is that if you have a child who has access to YouTube or any other type of social media, then maybe now is a good time to have a chat with them.

 

I’m not here to tell you how to parent – seriously who of us knows it all?! I’m mostly hoping I survive the teen years that are quickly approaching. However, it could be a good idea to check that they aren’t being mean without realising, to remind them that the words they say online are the same as saying them to a real person.

 

They don’t disappear once written, they are there for others to read. I always say to my own boys that before they say anything that could be construed as being mean, that they should imagine how they would feel if someone said those things to them or about someone who they love.

 

I also randomly check their phones and tablets to see what they are up to online. Neither of them actually comment on YouTube or anything yet, but I still check and remind them that words written online are read by others and can hurt.

 

My ‘weird’ eyebrows and I will still be doing videos sometimes by the way, hopefully to a kinder audience.

 

Stevie x

 




 

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16 Comments

  1. 4 January 2017 / 11:51 am

    It’s so easy for people to write a negative comment online without thinking about how it will affect the person they are ‘trolling’.
    As adults we know to rise above above it but children don’t realise the implications their words will have on others.
    Personally, I like your eyebrows and chin(s)!

    • 4 January 2017 / 11:57 am

      Ha ha thanks Hayleigh ;) hopefully just the one chin soon now that I’m not eating all the Christmas food ;)

      Stevie x

  2. 4 January 2017 / 12:04 pm

    I think a lot of the problem lies in the recent trend of thinking it’s somehow ok to bash celebrities (take it as a compliment, these kids view you as a celeb!). The trouble is that especially for kids, they don’t realise its an actual person with feelings that they are leaving their comments on.
    While I agree that with a child it’s maybe not intentional trolling, I do think at 9 kids know that they are saying something mean that they probably wouldn’t say face-to-face to an adult at least. But somehow, they think it’s ok if that person is famous – perhaps they are taking their inspiration from the media who also have no problem celebrity bashing!
    I also agree that some people won’t show your level of maturity and these kids might find themselves on the receiving end of some hurtful comments if someone decides to return the favour. It never fails to shock me that so many parents monitor what’s being said to their children online but not what their kids are saying to others.
    Great post, very thought provoking!
    Debbie

    • 4 January 2017 / 12:13 pm

      Thanks Debbie and some very good points there! Ha to the famous bit, but I agree that they see people on the internet and actual famous people as being not ‘real’ as such and feel it’s okay to say horrible things about them. Sadly half the newspapers and magazines seem to troll celebs offline and normalise it.

      Stevie x

  3. 4 January 2017 / 1:57 pm

    Great post Stevie and I’m sorry you went through this, it would just be so awful for children if it was targeted at them. I hope it makes people think about what their children are up to.
    Nat.x

    • 4 January 2017 / 2:35 pm

      Thanks Nat, so many children have their own YouTube channels and I really hope they don’t get this sort of abuse aimed at them.

      Stevie x

  4. 4 January 2017 / 1:58 pm

    This is such an important topic and thanks for writing about it Stevie – but sorry that you were trolled :( I would hate to think of my children ever doing this to people x

    • 4 January 2017 / 2:34 pm

      It’s fine I can take it, I just worry about those who can’t. Plus I’m pretty sure my eyebrows are vaguely normal really ;)

      Stevie x

  5. 4 January 2017 / 9:45 pm

    Well done Stevie for writing this post. I am shocked to read that this is happening and I hope that parents do think more about their children are doing online. The online world is only going to get bigger and people need to be responsible and have control over it. I’m sorry this happened to you xx

    • 4 January 2017 / 10:29 pm

      Thanks lovely, I would prefer it happened to me than a child so at least there’s that … though I hate to think how many have had unkind comments said to them online.

      Stevie xx

  6. 4 January 2017 / 10:17 pm

    It’s such a shame that things like this happen. You hope that kids are just enjoying social media not inadvertently being hurtful and putting themselves at risk. My daughters only 18 months but I’ll be having the same chat with her, that you’ve had, when she’s older.

    • 4 January 2017 / 10:28 pm

      It really is and it’s worrying to think what some of them actually get up to. Thankfully my boys are kind and I can’t imagine them ever doing anything like this, but I still do spot checks on their tablets etc and have the talks with them.

      Stevie x

  7. 9 January 2017 / 10:49 am

    My children do not have any form of social media account and until they are old enough to understand how to use it nicely, effectively and safely thats the way it’ll stay!

  8. 19 January 2017 / 9:57 pm

    Unsure if I’ll be giving my Son access to YouTube at such a young age. I dread to think the kind of stuff I’d be getting up to with that sort of unfiltered access to everything. The world would burn I expect lol.

    • 19 January 2017 / 10:37 pm

      Mine have both used YouTube for a while, but with parental settings on, they aren’t allowed to comment anywhere and we do spot checks to see what they’ve been watching etc. They really are growing up in a crazy old world though. Brilliant in so many ways, but scary for us as parents in many ways too ;)

      Stevie

    • 19 January 2017 / 10:37 pm

      Mine have both used YouTube for a while, but with parental settings on, they aren’t allowed to comment anywhere and we do spot checks to see what they’ve been watching etc. They really are growing up in a crazy old world though. Brilliant in so many ways, but scary for us as parents in many ways too ;)

      Stevie

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