Why Can’t We Play Nice?
You know what I absolutely, 100% have to avoid to keep my sanity?
It never ceases to amaze me that one minute I can be reading a really well-thought out article on something scientific or heartfelt and it completely gets ruined by Internet trolls. What makes it worse is these trolls then start picking fights with each other, then the name calling starts, people start unleashing their fury via caps lock, and before you know it, a perfectly good piece has been ruddied by the Internet haters.
Guys, what is up with this?
This is not a far cry from bullying. And truth be told, what sort of example are we setting by spending inordinate amounts of time fighting with a person who goes by the screen moniker justinlovr897 because they didn’t agree with the fact that we prefer the color purple over the number 9?
I know those two things are completely incongruous, but that is exactly what happens on the Internet. People start fighting over stuff that is completely unrelated. Instead of learning from the Internet, we’ve begun feeding the vicious, angry troll that lies within.
And do you know something? The kids are watching.
Very much in the same way that our children model our behavior at home, our Internet habits are just as influential. If anything, they are more susceptible out there in the ether because there are no physical walls in which to hide. There isn’t a safe place. We are creating a pretty scary world, and it’s not doing anyone any good.
The Internet has been set up as a stage for us to engage in discourse, except that kids have jumped on social media to start picking at each other through the veil that is Facebook or Twitter. We have jumped on news articles to yell at each other because we don’t agree with a political candidate or someone’s sexual orientation. We’re not nice, and we’re passing that onto the next generation.
Folks, why can’t we play nice?
The same goes for us, oh moms of the Internet, and you’ve read about the topics ad nauseam.
Your vaginal birth wasn’t real enough. Your c-section birth was too fake. That bottle you’re feeding your baby is full of poison. Your breast feeding is disgusting. How could you even consider a disposable diaper when the landfills are at maximum capacity? Why did you ever let your child watch an hour of television? You let your kid play with your iPhone? OMG, you gave your kid red dye #3! Why aren’t your strawberries organic?! You let your baby cry it out? Your baby is in daycare and you’re working? What’s wrong with you? What do you mean you chose to stay home? Don’t you want to make a place for yourself in this world? You aren’t a real woman!
Moms, come on. We are better than this. And I implore us to be better. We’re Better Way Moms, after all.
If we are supposed to teach our children compassion, then we need to be compassionate. If we are supposed to teach our children that the Internet is a tool, one that is meant for us to reach out to each other, to uplift each other from opposite ends of the pond, that this space is for all of us, of ever color, race, religion and political standing, as mothers and daughters and people in the world, it’s up to us to create that space.
We can’t tell our children not to bully if we’re bullying each other.
It’s way too easy to tell someone you don’t know that they’re awful, that they’re doing it wrong, that they’re no good. The intangible fabric of the Internet has stripped us of our empathy because it is too easy to hide behind. We have easily forgotten that justinlovr897 is a real, living, breathing person. And sure, perhaps they weren’t as nice to us as we would have liked, but there is no sense in feeding the trolls.
To stop it, we have to be better than it. It’s up to us to be the nice person. Our actions as mothers may not stop it altogether, but it’s one small step towards a more positive, more unified community of people, connected by fiber-optics and experience.
Today, go leave a positive comment to someone you don’t know out there. Even if you don’t agree with that person, tell them you value their opinion.
If you’re breastfeeding, tell a bottle feeding momma you support her. If you use disposable diapers, tell a momma who uses cloth that she rocks. If you know a mom at work who is missing her baby and you’re home with yours, tell her she is amazing. If you’re home alone with your kids, pat yourself on the back today.
The bullying stops with us. I love you, oh moms of the Internet everywhere. Love you so much. You’re doing a great job.