Monday, January 9, 2012

Be Nice on the Internet Week from Real Simple Magazine

With a new year just underway, I was happy to be contacted by Real Simple magazine regarding their new campaign: "Be Nice on the Internet Week." It's my wish that every week could be "Be Nice on the Internet Week" so thanks to Real Simple for getting us started.

I'm a longtime subscriber to Real Simple (and was interviewed for their online edition last year), so I'm extremely happy that the editors have chosen to address the reasons why civilization seems to break down the minute the words "leave your comments below" appear on the screen. Here is a link to Real Simple's terrific article. You can also follow the discussion on Real Simple's Facebook page and Twitter feed. Hashtag is #BeNiceWeek.

Unfortunately, I have experienced rudeness and sometimes crudeness (profane language, threats, you name it) on this blog and in comments sections following online news stories in which I've been quoted or profiled. Each time I've had a piece in media outlet with a large audience (TODAY Show Moms, Chicago Tribune) part of me has thought: "Here come the harsh comments."

That's not even counting the many parenting message boards where discussion of food allergies deteriorates into name-calling and worse.

It's always surprising to me that a mother talking about the best ways to take care of a child with a life-threatening medical condition can raise so much ire. I started my blog to help other parents in my situation and to address the issues that concern those of us in this boat. So why the rudeness from people not part of this experience?

Negative online experiences have shown me that food allergies are a greatly misunderstood topic and more education is needed about them. Usually, hostility towards parents and other bloggers in my situation is a sign that someone doesn't truly understand the issue. Instead of getting upset and saying to heck with my blog or online media outlets, rude comments and offensive remarks have made me think about how to get my message across in a more effective way. These comments have also made me think twice about any impulse to make negative comments of my own.

Negative feedback makes me even more grateful for those of my readers who take the time to say something positive. So let me take this opportunity to say something positive back. THANK YOU to all of you have offered your own experiences, provided a resource link, asked a question, given an answer or simply shared your ups and downs so that someone else knows they are not alone.

That's what online communication should be about.


muffintopmommy said...

Love your blog. The info is invaluable which is why I frequently pass it on to other moms. It's beyond me how others can be negative toward someone who is sincerely trying to help children. Keep on keeping on--and you are a class act to be able to tune them out. But if anything they remind us we need to all do our part to educate those who don't understand the severity of these allergies. Thanks for all you do, and go Real Simple!

Jamie said...

I LOVE your blog! It has been a lifesaver for me since my 2 oldest kiddos were diagnosed with tree nut allergies just over a year ago. Knowing that there are others out there facing the same issues I am makes this road we're traveling a little less scary. Your information, experiences, and encouragement is so valuable. THANK YOU from me and my family! :)

Anonymous said...

On a positive note, I enjoy reading your blog. Also, I subscribe to Allergic Living and it's a great magazine.


Anonymous said...

Please don't ever let negative comments discourage you from the important work you are doing. It is hard work but I think people just truly don't understand. Just this week a well meaning teacher brought in a snack for my daughter's Sunday School class in a ziplock bag with no labels. She was very defensive when we said our peanut allergic daughter couldn't have it and said "there are no peanuts in here" After church she came up to me and said "well, she survived" even though she didn't eat it. She treated me as if I were paranoid. The suppoet I get from your blog and your readers is so helpful, especially in these situations!!

LeeAnn said...

I just recently found your blog when searching online trying to find out if Walmart's cupcakes are safe for my tree nut allergic daughter.

Anyway, I cannot belive that there are people who post negative comments here! I fully admit that before my daughter's anaphylactic reaction to a cashew, I didn't understand food allergies and didn't really GET how dangerous they are, but I never would have made a parent feel bad for trying to protect their child. That is just ridiculous.

Susan H. @ The Food Allergy Chronicles said...

Has compassion for others disappeared? I too wonder why as soon as you mention food allergies, people get their backs up. My experience has been that somehow I am offending them...people get angry at me when I remind them of my childrens' food allergies and if they could please keep the food allergens away from my kids. I have encountered such disrespect that I am speechless. No other medical condition seems to garner such contempt. The public needs more education to appeal to their sense of many children with food allergies must die in order for people to take food allergies seriously? Susan H. @ The Food Allergy Chronicles

Lisa said...

I just wanted to say thank you for continuing to write this blog and educate others about food allergies despite the negative comments. My son was diagnosed with allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and sesame when he was just over a year old. Although that was almost a year ago now, I still feel "new" to this whole food allergy world, and I find the negativity toward those with food allergies expressed in other places both baffling and hurtful. I wish every week was "be nice on the internet week". However, I am so grateful that I discovered your blog shortly after my son was diagnosed. I have found it an incredibly valuable source of both practical tips and reassurance that others have successfully dealt with the same issues we're facing. Thanks again!

Diana said...

I am notval allergy parent but have family members with life threatening allergies. I think the reason for the hostility is because this condition, as opposed to most other diseases, conditions or whatever the correct term, requires everyone in thatvperson's world to change their habits, not only the person affected. If someone has diabetes, the people they are eating with do have to change the way they eat while someone with anaphylactic allergies required everyone in their class, sometimes school, airplane, etc tovhavecto change their habits. Not saying it's right, but one person's issue becomes the community's burden and that causes some hostility. I have also noticed a feeling of entitlement and, dare I say, emotional blackmailing, on the part of allergy parents. Just my two cents.