Educational Insights 2.18.2014
Educational Insights 2.18.2014
Posted on 02/17/2014

          Just Goggle “Twitter high school confessions” and you will get pages and pages of high school confession accounts and articles from across the country reporting on this new brand of over sharing and cyber bullying. A vast majority of these confessions are anonymous. Some share compliments and are harmless. However, most of the posts involve comments about drug abuse and casual sex. Many appear to simply be nasty rumors or comments bashing peers or teachers.

            Confessions are collected in a variety of ways: accounts using Twitter’s direct messaging and by using third party services like Survey Monkey, Google Docs, or Ask.fm. Teens have also taken to Tumblr and Facebook, creating pages with their school names, but often denying any affiliation with the school.

            What can parents do to help protect their teens? Jennings suggests that they be proactive and follow their children on Twitter, searching for mentions of their full name or username. Try searching for “confessions” or “compliments” accounts linked to the school your child attends.

            If you or your child is on the receiving end of inappropriate or unwanted Tweets, there are several actions one can take. Twitter offers suggestions for dealing with online abuse including ‘unfollowing’ and blocking the user. If unwanted @replies continue, Twitter recommends reporting the abusive user.

            When abuse goes beyond name-calling and the danger of a physical threat is felt, Twitter recommends alerting local law enforcement about the harassing behavior. Be sure to document all interactions with screenshots or printouts and be specific about why you are concerned.

            Check out Twitter’s “Safety & Security” page for more ideas on how to protect yourself and children by addressing concerns you have for content you found on the site. While unwelcomed Tweets are not typically grounds for criminal charges, any threats made to a school or individual should be reported to the police and taken seriously.

            The adults in a child’s 21st century life should teach them to respect themselves and others before writing their own confessions. Anything that they would not be comfortable saying face-to-face should not be posted. Applying the “Golden Rule” with posts is essential.

            Additional resources about cyber bullying are available from the National Crime Prevention Council, Cyberbullying Research Center, StopBullying.gov, and ConnectSafetly.org.

           

-Dr. Paula Sissel

psissel@gceagles.org

Garden County Schools

Superintendent/Elementary Principal