Parents may expect to hear about bullies on the schoolyard, but when everyone has access to our lives online - internet bullying can begin at any age. Mom AliceAnn Meyer found this out the hard way after sharing pictures of her now 4 year old son Jameson who was born with a rare genetic disorder. Much to Meyer’s shock, she began seeing the photos she shared of Jameson plastered all over Facebook and they had been turned into cruel and hateful memes mocking her son’s appearance
Today reports about the Meyer’s response to the internet bullying after one of the photos she shared on her blog, Jameson’s Journey, was being used as memes that made fun of her son. Meyer began seeing her son’s image on various memes, so comparing his appearance to a pug. But no matter how hard Meyer fought to have one removed, sure enough a brand new meme just as cruel as the last would pop up.
When Meyer received one response from someone who had created a meme using Jackson’s image, she felt she had to speak out. Meyer explains, “It struck a chord with me when (someone who posted the meme) told me that the photo was not even a real person — that it was a photo-shopped image. I just thought this was a great opportunity to educate people…there is a person behind that photo. He is very real, as are so many other kids.”
Meyer would soon take to her blog and send out a post introducing everyone to her very real son. She wrote, “"If you are going to laugh and share this meme, I think you should know exactly what it is you are sharing and laughing at. So, to everyone that 'LOL'd', shared, and posted that meme, let me start by introducing you to the child you find so funny. His name is Jameson. He is very real, and he was born with Pfeiffer syndrome.”
Though Meyer was very disappointed to see the slew of memes created using her son’s image, she admits that she was pleasantly surprised to be the recipient of a huge show of support from followers of the Facebook community she created for Jameson’s Journey https://www.facebook.com/JamesonsJourney/ . Parents have reached out to show support and share similar stories of their own child’s internet bullying.
During a time where it’s common for a child to have an internet presence from birth, Meyer says that she wishes there were more safeguards in place to protect images of children online. She explains, “No one has the right to take one of your photos and use it to humiliate your child…just because it's the Internet, doesn't make it right.” She later adds, “...even if there's a meme with a child who doesn't have any physical abnormalities, that child is still only a child.”
What do you think about this mother who is struggling to have memes of her son removed from the internet?
Do you think there should be more safeguards in place to protect the images of our children?