CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Monica Froese taps keys and maneuvers her mouse around her laptop screen, writing her latest blog post on her site, RedefiningMom.com.
“For a while I was passively blogging,” said Froese, working mom who lives in the Buffalo area.
Froese says she has created friendships and quite the following through the online forum. Each post she writes receives around 20,000 unique viewers.
“When I started I was shocked about the response,” said Froese who started the blog after having her daughter and realizing many women online didn’t offer the perspective of being a corporate America mom.
About a month ago, Froese wrote a post about work-life balance.
“I believe work life balance doesn’t exist,” said Froese. “It is something that took me a long time to figure out. There are different phases in life and sometimes certain things come around and come first.”
That post was picked up by a very popular mom blog and it went viral on that site.
“On the actual scary mommy Facebook wall, people were saying a lot of mean things like – I shouldn’t work. I don’t love my child. I’m not a good mom,” recalled Froese.
More than 300 comments like that were posted on her story, paired with hundreds of Facebook comments and shares with negative feedback attached. The words became so harsh, the social media site banned the story from being posted and shared.
Froese calls these people ‘Keyboard Cowards’ but what they really are are adult cyberbullies.
“One of the things that really struck me about it was it was an 800-word essay and the assumptions people made about my life were really crazy,” said the blogger. “Eight-hundred words and people said things that are not true, not based on fact, and it was just mean spirited.”
Froese says the day the story was posted and shared, she became obsessed with what people were saying; reading and re-reading the hateful, hurtful words aimed at her.
“I just really wanted to shut down my blog,” said Froese. “It really impacted me and I felt awful.”
A local doctor says Froese isn’t the only mom dealing with these incidents.
“Moms want other moms to do what they’re doing,” said Dr. Sephra Vigna, a clinical psychologist. “Therefore, when other moms are not doing that, they’re fairly critical.”
Dr. Vigna says cyberbullying, like this, can cause some victims to have depression and anxiety.
“A lot of parents feel like they can say whatever they like online because they can’t always see the repercussions,” said Dr. Vigna.
That’s something Froese has noticed too during her time as a blogger.
“It’s really easy to hide behind a computer,” said the mommy-blogger. “It’s very easy to say mean things when you really don’t realize you’re impacting someone.”
Froese says after those harsh, brutal words were thrown at her via the internet, she shied away from posting for a while and turned down some opportunities to post for larger outlets.
She says, through this tough time, she turned to the women she has connected with through the blogging community to help bounce back, stand up against mean moms online and focus on what’s important to her – her family and blog.
“I decided that with the good sometimes comes the bad and if people don’t put their voice out there and be the spokesperson for these causes than no one will,” said Froese. “So I guess I have to take one for the team.”
Cyberbullying can become very serious. If you feel you’re a victim, here are four tips to how to handle incidents. The first is to know it is not your fault. Next, don’t engage in conversations with the people bullying you. Save the evidence of the cyberbullying and last, block the harasser so they can’t engage with you any longer.
If you feel are a victim, you can visit this link here.