War of Words: The Rising Toxicity of Private Facebook Moms Groups

 

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Facebook moms groups: Most of us are, or have been, part of them. A private, digital ‘safe-place’, where moms can gather, post, get/give advice and a little sisterly solidarity whilst chuckling at the odd meme or two.

But as you’ve may have well witnessed; these Facebook moms groups aren’t always the uplifting platforms they are intended to be, and more and more posts are attracting confrontational and unkind commentary – even vitriolic attack.

Online Support

Get online and the number of Facebook moms groups is VAST. There are ones for moms in your area, ones for new or expecting moms, breastfeeding moms, formula-feeding moms, stay-at-home moms, working moms, freelance moms, special needs moms, single moms, moms with twins, ‘old new’ moms, moms with tattoos, and so on.

For those looking for support, especially in more niche areas, these Facebook moms groups can offer refuge.

They can be a sound board. A community. Moms cheering on moms. The wins. The battles. The woes.

It may be a quick click on the hug or heart emoji.  A ‘Same,’ or ‘I hear you, girl’, ‘Hang in there, it gets better’, or members sharing their own difficulties, advice and suggestions in affable unison.

You know, the good stuff.

Digital Witch Hunt

But then, there are those other posts. The ones that may start out innocent enough but quickly elicit a barrage of criticism.

A couple of moms throw some serious shade and punch in inflammatory responses. A handful of members turn on one another. Replies get ugly.

Meanwhile, the rest of us bystanders in these Facebook moms groups pull up a chair and shamelessly {or shamefully} scroll through the previous comments.

woman with baby on lap logging on to Facebook moms groups

Mom Judgement

If we are being honest, as Moms, most of us are guilty of passing at least some judgement in our parenting lives, even if we try our damnedest not to be ‘that person’.

It’s human nature, but it’s also because we are pretty passionate about our kids.

These little people will forever be our single most important priority. We are their biggest advocates and protectors. And in turn, we are fairly protective over our own ideals, because we are raising our children by them.  

So, perhaps it’s not all that surprising that many Facebook moms groups become a breeding ground for judgement and dispute when parents clash in their thinking.

A Word From the Admin

“Attention: When you joined this group, you agreed to be respectful and kind. Over the last few weeks, we have noticed a dramatic increase in nasty comments. Please note this will not be tolerated. Any unkind comments will be deleted and you will be removed from this group – no questions asked. Please help us keep this group supportive and uplifting.”

….Was the staunch warning issued to one group’s many thousands of followers last month. It wasn’t their first caution, and it is unlikely to be their last.

According to admins, they are finding themselves wading into contention much more often, forcing them to switch off commentary to a thread or delete acrimonious posts entirely.

‘Please Be Kind’

Recently, a mom commiserated online, “I’m new to groups. I commented in a different group something I have experience in and was roasted. I deleted my comment and left the group. Why do people feel its ok to treat others so bad? I thought groups were meant to raise each other up. Just another hit to my already fragile grip on life.”

In line with this thinking, there seems to be a growing trend of, ‘Please be kind’, now preluding many posts as members attempt to pre-empt any negativity.

woman with brown hair and glasses looks at phone in her handStranger Danger

Facebook moms groups can create a sense of community. But it’s worth reminding ourselves that these people, in most cases, are complete strangers, vetted only by a preliminary question.

We wouldn’t necessarily choose many of them to be our friends outside of a forum; yet somehow, online, these people are transformed into confidantes.

And the reality is, we are not always going to agree with, or like, what they have to say.

What’s your thoughts on private Facebook moms groups? Love em/loathe em? Have they been helpful or have you personally encountered negativity online?


 

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Looking for another taste of expat life, Vhairi M. relocated from Scotland to the cusp of the Woodlands in June 2019 with her oil-and-gas-finance-Excel-loving-husband, rambunctious son, Innes {August 2017}, and equally rambunctious, cocker spaniel, Luna. Prior to this latest international adventure, the pair lived in the other-worldly desert oasis of Dubai for several years. Whilst there, Vhairi worked on travel, food, and lifestyle magazines, which saw her eating witchetty grubs in the Australian outback, cooking breakfast with Gordon Ramsay, and sipping champagne at Prince Harry and Prince William’s {circa-Meghan} annual charity polo match. Nowadays, she spends much of her time writing children’s books. In 2020, Vhairi published a chapter book {Hamish Montgomery and the Cursed Claymore}, and a picture book {Great Auntie Betty and the Serengeti}, and looks forward to releasing more kidlit in the near future. Keep up to date with all her books news @vhairijanemoir on Instagram and via her website vhairijanemoir.com.

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