Lorraine Candy, editor-in-chief of Elle magazine, in her regular column for MailOnline’s Femail, has this week spoken very negatively of mother and baby forums, which she refers to as “nasty online chatrooms”.

Within a wider feature on “motherphilia” as she calls it, whereby raising children has come to be the “be all and end all of women’s lives”, Lorraine Candy points the finger at social networks and forums targeted at mothers for exacerbating the problem.

She speaks of “the expanding voice the internet gives the cruel, bitter and bonkers members of our Big Society”.

It’s an observation that struck a personal chord with me, as I’m mother to an 18 month old girl and in the early stages I spent a fair amount of time on such forums. While I’ve never been victim to this sort of attack, I have seen instances of it happening.

While there’s been a lot of bad press about chatroom dangers and internet bullying over the past few years, are there more subtle forms of discrimination/social judgement taking place in online communities affecting more of an adult audience, or more specifically working mums?

‘Moderation’ used to be such a buzz word for the internet industry, but it’s one that we now hear less and less. It’s almost become a bit old-fashioned, and an antithesis to social media that is all about transparency, honesty and authenticity. Unfortunately, some people translate this to mean they have carte blanche to break from society’s norm, and sometimes deliver quite hurtful and damaging comments.

Within the social media training that I deliver, I’m continually advising brands and agencies to think about the tone of voice that they’re using across social media – in an ideal world, that rule should apply to everyone.


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