WINNEBAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Parents of Winnebago Middle School students say they’re angry after finding offensive Instagram posts about their children.
“It’s scary to see that it’s in the Winnebago school district,” said mother Amber Gillette, who said her daughter was targeted by bullies on Instagram.
“The comments that are made, like ‘kill yourself,’ it’s ridiculous,” she said.
The posts were made on an anonymous account.
“She was crying. She was kind of upset about it. I pretty much just jumped into ‘mama bear’ mode and was like, ‘just ignore it, delete Instagram,’ because she’s not supposed to have Instagram on her phone, anyway,” Gillette said.
“She’s not always innocent,” Gillette said of her daughter. “She might pick back and forth, with certain girls, but for the most part, I feel like she is a very friendly person.”
Gillette went on Facebook to warn other parents.
“I was absolutely shocked by what I saw. It was bad,” said Stephanie King. “Kids shouldn’t be talking to each other that way.”
King, a mother of three, said the posts are hard to read, because they were so offensive.
“Seeing our youth telling each other to kill themselves for targeting one another, with such malicious intent, it’s scary to see it happening,” she said.
King said it will be a tough choice for her, in the future, on whether or not she should allow her children on social media.
“Gone are the days where it’s whispers in the hallways. We are in a time where, with the click of a button, you can alter someone’s life,” she added.
Gillette says the risks that come with social media are scary.
“I don’t know what the answer is. The only thing I can tell you is to check their phones, constantly. Check their phones,” she said.
After Gillette posted the Instagram account on Facebook, other parents reported it and it was removed.
Gillette says she is now watching her daughter’s social media closely, and warns other parents to do the same.