The internet and this nasty monster called parent shaming

Note: This is an excerpt from an article I wrote for Manila Bulletin. Link to the full article can be found below

21751422_116595499058292_8363420890996659970_nSocial media has been feeding it, driving parents nuts, breaking moms’ hearts, and it has got to stop now

It’s been around for decades. Parents have been hearing mean comments and enduring criticism from relatives, friends, and worst even strangers. So many mothers over the past decades have lost sleep over a mean remark about her parenting and their children. Subtle or outright, it doesn’t matter. Parent shaming remarks are all designed to make parents feel awful about their choices. And this nasty practice has been around for ages.

The Beasts of Social Media

As if it’s not enough that they’re juggling a career with motherhood or is stuck at home with four rambunctious children, all while making sure the house is habitable. Parent-shamers feel it necessary to tell these struggling parents that they’re doing it wrong, they’re overdoing it, or they’re just not doing their jobs as parents at all—as if they can really take over and do things themselves.

These days, in the age of the Internet and social media, parent shaming with all its usual nastiness has adapted and evolved into this huge disgusting monster that prowls the dark alleys of the web, lurking and waiting for the next victim. As soon as parent-shamers learned the ease and convenience of using social media and posting comments, they have sat in front of their computers waiting for the perfect opportunity to spew their vitriol.

The net is replete with articles about parenting, blog posts, and Facebook updates written by tired parents who just want to blow some steam off by sharing their frustrations. Which make them easy target for parent-shamers online who can’t seem to keep themselves busy with more productive endeavors. Remarks range from the subtle to the epic like “What kind of parent would [insert what ever minor mistake the parent did that this parent-shamer would like exaggerate]” or “So many stupid parents these days!”

It’s so easy to be all high and mighty and step, no, make that trample on struggling parents when they’re behind a computer, typing and spreading their poison. Even the ever so innocent picture of parents and their cute babies posted on Instagram sometimes go under attack. Eagle-eyed shamers have their own built in filters that will never miss details, little clues proving how inept this mother or father is at parenting.

Social media culture has fed this monster with more parents to ridicule, criticize, shame, and bully.  And it’s getting bigger, bolder, and hungrier. Celebrities aren’t the only targets of parent shaming. Even non-celebrities are put on the spotlight, because for this monster everyone is fair game.

Read the full article here

Author: Loraine Balita-Centeno

I'm a Manila based journalist who's been working in the industry for 12 years. I've written pieces for newspapers and magazines based in Manila and some abroad. I'm a work-at-home-mom of two so I spend my days writing or editing with a toddler clamped around one leg and a pre-schooler asking me questions every 10 minutes.

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