This article by Anne Collier highlights some points that are perfect to share at the beginning of the school year, when you are hopefully teaching students about social media literacy.
1) Remind students that when they're feeling down, reading comments on social media probably won't help their mood.
2) When harsh comments are posted, help students remember it's a reflection of how the person writing the comments is feeling. Anyone writing mean comments is probably feeling pretty bad about himself.
3) If you're reading mean comments about yourself, try to add some humor. Read them aloud in a funny voice, make them dramatic--these help direct the focus off you.
4) Set a policy for yourself: don't read comments at all, or stop at the first negative one. (This would be very hard at any age, I think.)
5) Look for the positive. Is there a kernel of truth in the mean comment? Could you turn it around somehow? (This works well with what we're teaching about the growth mindset this year!)
6) Don't feed your own troll. There's no need to add what you're reading to your own inner critical voice!
7) Let your friends know you need a pep talk. This might be hard for middle schoolers, but reach out to your friends for some appreciation.
8) Remember, you control how you react. It's your decision to let nasty online comments hurt you. Keep up the positive self-talk.
9) Remind yourself that our brains are wired to focus on the negative. Even if we're fed a steady diet of positive comments, we tend to brood over the one negative. Learn to step back and take a look at your social media feed and you might see that overall, people are generally nice.
Sharing this toolbox of strategies for dealing with trolls doesn't mean a child won't deal with the gut punch of meanness that can occur, especially in middle school, but it just might just help her realize it's not as devastating as she initially thought.