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VIRTUAL BATTLEFIELD | Moms Against Moms, Local Social Media Groups Heat Up Over Mask Debate



WHY SOME WEST SUBURBAN CHICAGO MOMS SAY THEY CAN'T CLICK "LEAVE GROUP" FAST ENOUGH

WEST SUBURBAN CHICAGO–With the latest debate over masks in schools, many Illinois moms have taken to social media groups to freely discuss the latest updates and information as it is released by their districts. However, it seems the line to freely discuss is sometimes being crossed, with some moms being an unfair target of harassment by others simply because they share a different viewpoint. Where should group admins draw the line and should they be held accountable when harassment occurs?


While many agree that it can be taxing to manage a social media group with active participants, especially during times of community-wide controversy and opposition, the question is often raised as to whether or not group admins should be more strict with what they allow by its group members, while taking a more neutral stance, rather than promoting a virtual battlefield.


When moms deliberately try to down other moms in social media groups, it can create an unwelcome feeling. Many feel this behavior goes against everything we are teaching our children– to just be kind and treat others with respect, even if we don't share the same viewpoint. Many also feel that social media administrators should be held to a stricter policy while overseeing a public forum and be held accountable when a member is being unfairly targeted by another member.



LOCAL MOMS SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCE

One DuPage County mom shared her recent social media experience with us earlier this week.


“Local moms are name calling and personally attacking those who don't agree with them regarding certain issues in our schools and it's really disrespectful. Yes, I have my own very strong feelings about things, and I understand that not all parents are going to agree with me, but that's OK. I'm not name calling and belittling them publicly because we don't share this same viewpoint. It's absurd that some moms are actually doing this."


Another local mom from Kane County shared her frustration with a local mom-specific facebook group in her area.


“I used to love being in this group so I could meet other Kaneland area moms, learn about park district and school information, event updates and more. But within the last couple of years, something about this group changed – drastically. It soon became very clear that if you didn't share the same visions and viewpoints as the group admins and some of the members who have very strong viewpoints, then your voice as a Kaneland mom didn't really matter in this group. So, like other moms who were also seeing this change, I rarely visited the group or participated.”


She added “This past week, due to everything happening with mask mandates, the group has become so toxic that users are allowed to ridicule each other with sarcastic and nasty comments, while those who are asking for this treatment of others to stop are being censored. It’s become so disheartening so, needless to say, I left the group.”


Though masks remain a heated topic in schools, no matter which side a local mom is on, most wish to have one simple question answered– why are moms treating other moms like this? Why are local social media group administrators allowing this divide to get greater when they have the ability to minimize these occurrences by taking responsible action by remaining neutral and implementing a zero-tolerance policy?





Earlier today, a Kendall County mom shared that “being a mom is hard work and many want the same things for their children. It's beyond disappointing to see grown women in our community act this way–I'm shocked to see that some of them are my neighbors! Whether I am for or against whatever the latest mask controversy may be in our schools, I’ll advocate for what I feel is best for my child, and I should be given the right to do so without being a target of someone’s rage and bullying. All of our voices matter.”


Though the mask debate is widespread in school districts throughout Illinois, not just here in west suburban Chicago, many moms we spoke to say that they have witnessed unfair targeting in social media groups, particularly towards moms, siting the lack of responsibility by group administrators.


49% OF MOMS SAY SOCIAL MEDIA HAS DIVIDED PEOPLE

According to a recent study at Edison Research, the relationship U.S. moms have with social media is complicated as social media has become necessary for the busy moms of today. Moms might experience negative feelings on social media, but without it, they’d lose the ability to keep in touch with friends or keep up with the daily activities of their families and lives.


Moms were asked if they thought social media had brought people together or divided people, and their answer perfectly illustrates this complicated relationship: they were split almost evenly with 51% saying social media has brought people together and 49% saying social media has divided people.


How can moms avoid being unfairly targeted? The answer can be as simple as practicing self control strategies while you are visiting a social media group where there might be intense conversation on a controversial topic. By not engaging, you are allowing yourself to move past the discussion. If you see someone being unfairly targeted, it is best to notify the administrators of the group. If it is still being permitted, and administrators are ignoring this behavior, it is best to report the group to the platform while siting bullying/harassment.



MOM TIME







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