Has Facebook turned into a church?
Our youth’s latest fling with “Confession Pages” appears to be contagious considering the number of such pages swamping up the social media space and how fast the idea has gathered popularity with all the ho-humness surrounding it.
Let’s hold back our disposition towards it for once and appreciate the ingenuity of the idea our youth has picked up to take out their pent up frustrations and to display their imaginative faculty at its best. It’s no longer only celebrities who stand in a critical limelight for their actions, attire and relationships – now, confession pages have turned all those school/college going no-bodies into cyber-stars or else.
While it’s difficult to crown any individual for the remarkable inception, one can be sure it has crawled all the way from west into our youngsters who insist on following every fad-irrespective of its repercussions, in order to stand ‘there’. Not surprisingly, there’s a somewhat stiff competition between schools as to whose page has the spiciest content and therefore the highest popularity quotient.
Uncensored Content of the “Confession Pages”
Here’s a peek to what goes on on these confession pages:
The shock-value of these so-called confession pages might hit anyone hard and leave them wondering if there’s any constructive purpose to these clandestinely uploaded disclosures. Since all they intend to offer to their readers is a fair dose of sexists comments, grudge markers, misogynistic statements, love confessions and embarrassing secrets with a mask of anonymity of the sender. To add, they tend to feed our children on sensationalism and a school version of tabloid-journalism at such tender ages where even the slightest thing gone wrong could distort their personalities and leave them dealing with it for the rest of their lives.
Surely, these confession pages have come as a nightmare for parents. Gone are those days when they used to worry about school-ruffians ganging up on their children or a group of “mean girls” trying to intimidate their young ones. The new-age problem looming large on them is “cyber bullying” and the virtual impossibility that comes with it, of protecting their kids from it even at home.
Shocking Confessions or Cheap Entertainment:
Not just this, the smoke-gun revelations on these confession pages may have nothing to do with the reality and are made for the sole purpose of cheap entertainment as well as to gain larger public traction. The more atrocious the comment, the more attention it gains and so there’s a limited incentive for practicing any discretions or to show any ethical concerns in avoiding lewd and cruel content.
As a result, children are holding their tender egos on brims, and are scared how their appearance, dressing and actions could be magnify into a scandalous comment that could humiliate them, in front of the entire world.
Victims of Confession Pages:
“I feel I’d never be able to step out of my home or meet anyone for that matter. I don’t know how many people including my teachers, schoolmates and family would have seen those obscene remarks about me on my school confession page and what would they think of me. I just want to shut myself up in a box.” a 9th grader confided about her misery after having being bullied on the Facebook page.
Another A2 student commented, “Now, I’m officially obese since they made fun of my fat stomach c on facebook. And it is as if it’s a news. All my mates are openly laughing pointing finger at me as if I’m the clown. I just hate going to school now.”
Naturally, the ramifications of cyber bullying even out-weighs that done physically. It has successfully managed to devastate our youth’s self-esteem and has brought out their cruel and ruthless streak to the fore.
Rubina Feroz, clinical psychologist and chairman of Psychology department at the University of Karachi expressed her views, “The cyber-bullied child could be severely traumatized by being humiliated in front of the world and especially his mates, and would exhibit grave anxiety symptoms that may range from withdrawal from his social circle to anything that is not the part of his identity. It may be for the parents and teachers to figure out their behavioral change and help cope up with it. However, there’s no definite way of dealing with it and the cope-up mechanism could include a combo of several measures and therapies.”
How to Deal with Bullying in the name of Confessions:
Where a common consensus is there’s possibly no stopping to these spawning pages however, since it safely falls under the category of hate speech, cyber bullying, spam and pornography, facebook authorities could be informed about it and the page could be reported ‘Abuse’. However, since it’s always possible to create a new page with a new name, its virulent ability to replicate and making comebacks may leave this measure virtually ineffectual.
Also, reporting these pages abuse would only deal with one aspect of the problem and what is needed for this to be shunned goes back to addressing the issue at core. For that, children need to be educated in their classes and at home about the repercussions of what might appear to be simply fun. And what emotional blow this bullying may lead their fellows into.
Support Groups for Victims:
Another less popular idea in our context is of support groups to help those who have suffered bullying of any sort and especially cyber-bullying. It would be particularly effective especially in letting them know they’re not alone in their agony and don’t need to shun their social life.
Hire Psychologists at Schools:
Although a trend followed by only a few elitist ones, each one needs to have trained psychologists to conduct seminars and individual counseling on emotional wellbeing, dealing with bullying and trauma management to not only enlighten students about the issue at heart but to also minimize the damage if it’s done. so the survivors don’t feel alone in their agony and restrain themselves from taking any disastrous steps.
Strict Code of Punishment:
There need to be well-defined and strict code of punishments to the operatives behind these pages so the activity could be discouraged. Teachers, principals and students counselor should keep reinstating school’s policy on every platform regarding such actions to warn some pranksters who may attempt it despite all.
Community Building Tasks be made part of Curriculum:
Last but not the least; our youth needs not be confined to academics alone. It should be made compulsory for them to be part of community building tasks to help inculcate in them empathy instead of aggression and so they could evaluate their actions in the larger interest of the community than mere personal enjoyment.
Hence, the long-term solution of the issue lies in awareness, empathy and brute intolerance towards any act of cyber-bullying. For only, when there would be no viewership to such voyeuristic reality shows, there would be no need to report these pages abuse for they’d die their own death.