Childrearing

Jane Pratt Of xoJane Talks Cyberbullying

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Jane Pratt, founding editor of Sassy and founder of the new site xoJane chatted with Adweek about her website and her family. Among tidbits about her daughter stealing her iPhone and posting to xoJane without her mommy’s permission, she dropped some noteworthy insight about contemporary parents being obsessed with cyberbullying.

When asked if she’s worried about her young daughter being cyberbullied and if the epidemic may be “overblown,” Jane responded:

I know, that whole cyberbullying thing. It’s like peer pressure. It’s a term that adults put on it and I don’t know that that’s how kids think about it.

Jane’s observation, although brief, does point to a critical factor when understanding the dynamics of children — particularly in a space as nebulous as the internet. Terms like “peer pressure” and “cyberbullying” are adult terms for the experiences of children, meaning that they may not actually capture anything authentic about what happens when tweens fire off antagonistic tweets or write malicious Facebook comments. The growing concern for how children respond to one another on social media is valid, but Jane’s comments remind us that we’re merely looking in on the exchanges of kids. Our terminology is not grounded in anything else than what we as adults are observing.

(photo: adweek.com)