Parents and adults leaving COVID-19 vaccine abuse should know better
Parents and adults leaving COVID-19 vaccine abuse should know better

Parents should know better than to behave like this

Is it safe to come out now? Has everyone settled down? OK, I think we are good to go.

Last week, I wrote about vaccinations in this very space. Well, well, well, didn't that throw the COVID cat among the pigeons.

I knew there would be some opposition to compulsory vaccines. It's new, still in trials and developed at a record pace. I get it. I also appreciate no one likes being told what to do, not by an airline, and not by a random TV presenter who occasionally writes for the newspaper.

What I wasn't prepared for was the vicious reaction - not against the vaccine or Qantas or the authorities or the pesky virus in the first place, but against me.

Edwina Bartholomew. Picture: Tim Hunter
Edwina Bartholomew. Picture: Tim Hunter

Social media has a lot to answer for here. It provides an open forum for discussion, for sharing and considering new ideas. Hopefully, it allows people to research and expand their knowledge as friends pass on interesting articles and clips. But it can also be very personal.

This week I heard from the charming Tate, who said I had "shit for brains". Then there was Chad, a fitness professional, who said he welcomed the idea that I would pump poison into my veins.

Surprisingly, abusive comments can often come from people with inspirational slogans on their social media like "Love and Light" and "Be kind". Frequently, it's parents with children, who should probably know better about the negative effects of online bullying.

If you don't want the vaccine, I don't really care. I feel confident that our health authorities will pass it through the appropriate checks and balances before it's administered to Australians.



But, as we approach the season where it matters, try to be nice, not naughty online. I have a thick skin (not thick enough to stop a vaccine getting through, I might add) but thick enough to withstand online jibes. As we have learnt so tragically in the past, not everyone does.

There is a campaign, led by my media colleague Erin Molan, for the federal government to introduce legislation to prosecute social media users for posting threatening messages. That's a while away.

Until then, I welcome your feedback. If it don't respond, don't take it personally, it's because my phone is in a cupboard and I'm getting on with my day.

Originally published as Parents should know better than to behave like this