Grown Up Mean Girls: Mom on Mom Cyberbullying

Moms looking for advice and community online often find harsh words, insults.

ByABC News via logo
March 23, 2010, 1:31 PM

April 28, 2010 — -- Motherhood is supposed to be like apple pie and a warm hug. Wholesome. Dependable.

But online, it can be anything but. Right next to support groups on diaper rash and the terrible twos are mean girls, all grown up.

It's mom on mom cyberbullying and as the popularity of mommy blogging rises, so do the often stinging criticisms.

A mom who asks about baby bottles is called "a cop out" and "uneducated" for not breastfeeding. Working moms are "selfish" and co-sleeping moms are labeled "irresponsible" online.

"There's a lot of insecurity, a lot of confusion, resentment, just about being a mother," psychiatrist and mommy blogger Janet Taylor told "Good Morning America." "There's a sense of 'I have to be better than you and I'm going to prove it by writing negative things.' Not supporting, just writing negative things."

And it seems nothing is off limits.

In December 2009, mother of four and popular mommy blogger Shellie Ross found her 2-year-old drowned in the pool. She tweeted to her 5,400 followers less than an hour after finding her son, "Please pray like never before, my 2yr old fell in the pool." Her son didn't make it. Afterwards, she tweeted, "Remembering my million dollar baby."

Though she told ABC News she did not "tweet-by-tweet the accident," within minutes her Twitter feed was flooded with responses -- some sympathetic, but many angry. Some blamed her for her son's death.

"A child is dead because [of] his mother's infatuation with Twitter," one wrote.

"She had a community that followed her as she was tweeting, the last thing that she's thinking about is that she's going to get criticized," Taylor said. "Online you don't have the contact that you have offline. Typically people who write the most negative comments would not say that to your face. So, there is this barrier that allows moms to feel like they can write whatever they want."

Take 5! - If someone upsets you online, don't let them see you sweat. It only feeds the bullying. Do something you love to help you regain composure and balance. Disengage from the technology.

Pick you battles – Know when to call the FBI and when to brush it off. Physical threats should always be reported to the police.

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