Melania Trump (AP/Evan Vucci)

Parkland shooting survivor to Melania Trump: Talk to Trump Jr. about cyberbullying

Teens continue to call out the hypocrisies of White House officials on social media


Nicole Karlis
February 25, 2018 12:48AM (UTC)

Parkland shooting survivors continue to speak up on social media, asking lawmakers to leverage their authority and power to impose stricter gun control laws. On Friday, 14-year-old Lauren Hogg had a different request for First Lady Melania Trump though: teach your stepson, Donald Trump Jr., about cyberbullying.

“Hey @FLOTUS  you say that your mission as First Lady is to stop cyber bullying, well then, don’t you think it would have been smart to have a convo with your step-son @DonaldJTrumpJr before he liked a post about a false conspiracy theory which in turn put a target on my back,” Lauren Hogg tweeted.

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The First Lady hasn’t responded, and has been relatively silent on social media since the shooting. Indeed, she resorted to the GOP-beloved response of “thoughts and prayers” on the day of the massacre.

Donald Trump Jr. reportedly liked tweets sharing the conspiracy theory suggesting that Lauren’s brother, David Hogg, was being coached to speak out against Donald Trump. Trump Jr.’s move appeared to be a passive endorsement of the one of many conspiracy theories floating around about the survivors that conservatives are embracing.

"The fact that Donald Trump Jr. liked that post is disgusting to me," David Hogg told Anderson Cooper on Wednesday.

It was this move that reportedly incited many internet trolls to bully the Hogg family though. The liked tweet “created a safe space for people all over the world to call me and my family horrific things that constantly re-victimizes us and our community,” Lauren Hogg explained on Twitter.

“I’m 14 I should never have had to deal with any of this and even though I thought it couldn’t get worse it has because of your family,” she tweeted.

While Melania Trump’s formal platform as First Lady has yet to officially be decided--during the campaign, she gave a speech addressing cyberbullying.

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“Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers,” Melania Trump said in November 2016. “It is never OK when a 12 year old girl or boy is mocked, bullied, or attacked. It is terrible when that happens on the playground. And it is absolutely unacceptable when it is done by someone with no name hiding on the internet."

According to a 2016 survey by the Cyberbullying Research Center, 33.8 percent of 5,700 middle and high school students between the ages of 12 and 17 said they’ve been bullied online in their lifetime. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed had received “mean of hurtful comments” in the last 30 days prior to when they took the survey.


Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a news writer at Salon. She covers health, science, tech and gender politics. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

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