teens

Mel Greig: "Finally, parents have a way to protect their kids from social media bullying."

“Go kill yourself.”

Do you know how many times these words are said every single day? Looking at the cyber-bullying statistics, I think it’s accurate to say it’s more times than it ever should be.

One in five children are cyber-bullied, and it’s no coincidence suicide is the biggest killer of our teenagers. Is there a link? Absolutely there is, and finally one of the biggest social media companies has done something about it.

This week Instagram introduced a new filter to help stop ‘harassment’ on their platform. There is now an option to ‘hide inappropriate comments’, and even though it has flaws this is a huge step forward for online safety.

All teachers and parents need to be aware of this new filter.

Instagram doesn’t have the same age restrictions as Facebook and is sadly a common place for online bullying amongst our young people.

Some parents think it’s the safest because it’s ‘just posting photos’, but sadly this is not the case.

Please sit down with your child tonight or at school tomorrow and talk them through these steps. I’ll put it in easy iPhone instructions:

1. Firstly you need to make sure you have the most recent/updated version of Instagram. Visit to the App Store and see if you need to update.

2. Click onto the Instagram profile — this is the person picture icon in your bottom right hand corner.

3. Click on the circle in the right hand corner. It looks like a sun or a circle with spikes.

4. Keep scrolling through that list to settings and click on comments.

5. Make sure the switch that says ‘hide inappropriate comments’ is on and pushed across to the right. You should be able to see blue on the left.

6. Below that you will see CUSTOM KEYWORDS. In that section, write every bad word that has ever been said to your child and I want you to include the words ‘kill’ and ‘hang’.

This new filter is brilliant but I have tested a few common, vile messages to see if they were filtered out and they weren’t covered by the standard filter, but were in the custom keyword category.

A photo posted by Mel Greig (@melgreigradio) on

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I asked my Wave FM co-host Travis Winks to write horrible messages to me to see what would come through.

He felt really uncomfortable writing those words and really didn’t want to do it. That is the reaction of a normal and decent human being, and I wish cyber-bullies felt the same way.

The cyber-bully will still be able to see their words, but you and your followers will not — it will be hidden from your messages.

I asked Travis to write ‘Go kill yourself’, a comment that has been said to me hundreds of times and it’s something that no longer affects me.

I was disappointed to see it got through Instagram’s new filter. But when I wrote ‘kill’ as one of the custom keywords it thankfully did not show up in my comments.

Those three words are having devastating effects. No one should ever have to read such vile words and no one should ever believe that that’s what they should do. (Post continues after gallery.)

Today I spoke to a mother of a 16 year-old-boy who tried to commit suicide last week due to cyber-bullying. Luckily, and thankfully, he was found just in time.

Suicide is not the answer, and it’s not as easy as saying, ‘Well don’t go on social media’ to this generation of kids. They live on social media and always will. What we need to do as adults is continuously find safer solutions for them and to support them through every struggle they face.

If you are a parent or teacher that has a child on a social media platform, you need to be on that same platform to understand what they are going through and to have an understanding of how it works.

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Listen to This Glorious Mess, Mamamia’s podcast for imperfect parents.