Bullying at school gets dangerous with Facebook ‘confessions’ pages

Published: April 14, 2013
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Next level bullying: Facebook confessions pages have made life miserable for several students as their whole names appear on the pages for everyone to see. PHOTOS: FACEBOOK

Next level bullying: Facebook confessions pages have made life miserable for several students as their whole names appear on the pages for everyone to see. PHOTOS: FACEBOOK

KARACHI: 

Playground bullying is a thing of the past. Today, if you are a student and want to make the life of a fellow student a living hell, just log on to a Facebook confession page for your school.

These pages have sprouted all over Karachi and are run by school-going teenagers. Most schools have their own pages – type KGS Gossip World for Karachi Grammar school, FPS OLGC Confessions for Foundation Public School, CAS Confessions for the Centre of Advanced Studies and so on.

“They degrade people and make them feel unnecessarily bad about themselves,” says a student, who wishes to remain anonymous about his school’s confession page.

Once you log on to these pages, the first thing that will hit you is the graphically explicit content here. Students – in what are arguably the top schools of the city – have found this medium to express illicit sexual desires for each other. Entries vary from mostly anonymous confessions of adoration for a certain peer, to posts that claim that fellow students are homosexual.

Beneath this plethora of sex-crazed comments, you will come to see that specific students are targeted on these pages for being different. Personal remarks are made based on appearances. If you are overweight, you will get a crude remark along with your full name stating that you are fat and thereby completely unworthy.

Read a few comments and you will know they are a deliberate attempt to ostracise certain students. What is especially dangerous about these pages is that they are openly accessible to anyone. Thus, you do not have to belong to a certain group to see these pages – there are no privacy settings. A family member or any relative could stumble across their kin and read comments claiming a certain girl is ‘flexible’.

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As for social consequences, teenage years are a sensitive time. All you want to do is to fit in during this part of your life and such comments so can be devastating to one’s self-esteem. This is why cyber bullying has a massive leg-up over regular bullying. The reach these posts have is unlimited – anybody can see them.

Hence, not only can the entire school read that a certain girl has terrible body odour, any person can log on to this page and read the same. It is this reach can make a child a target in many circles.

If say, this girl or boy decides to leave this particular school where he or she is being bullied and hope for a fresh start it is virtually impossible because anyone can access the malicious posts and thus, there can be no fresh start.

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A teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, stated that he recognised the writing style of certain students on the confessions page of the school he teaches.

I teach English. I can recognise writing styles and know which post was written by which student.” But when he asked his students, they denied having any knowledge of these pages.

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Photos: Facebook

However, not all students are supporting this new trend. A student of CAS felt that these pages can only become popular among students who are ‘petty’. “I wish to take this matter to my administration and I hope other schools do so too,” he said.

Given the immense following these pages have, a step in the right direction would be to report these pages on Facebook so they can be blocked and more teenagers can be saved from this form of bullying.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • F.
    Apr 14, 2013 - 5:53AM

    While I’d like to share this article because it talks about genuine bullying on these confessions pages that have cropped up everywhere, it is hardly “sex-crazed” to say you have a crush on someone. -_-

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  • Aliza Rehman
    Apr 14, 2013 - 8:46AM

    That’s why I always say Social Networking is a fad that will fade away soon hopefully..

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  • Munis
    Apr 14, 2013 - 9:23AM

    It’s a passing fad in my opinion , soon these sort of pages will go into oblivion

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  • AIH
    Apr 14, 2013 - 9:31AM

    ET, Thank you for naming the schools rather than hiding them. Thats the only way wschool administration will take notice of this.

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  • A.Shakoor
    Apr 14, 2013 - 2:20PM

    Thank You E.T for showing the confession numbers. Now I can easily get the names you have blackened :D

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  • Nouman Ahmed
    Apr 14, 2013 - 3:50PM

    I think we all should report these pages to Pemra website.

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  • lily
    Apr 14, 2013 - 3:51PM

    good job tribune.the pages is really nasty.hope the students parents read ths n go on o look what thr children r doing.good work!

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  • Ahsan
    Apr 14, 2013 - 4:35PM

    LUMS confessions was first page in Pakistan for such confessions! :)

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  • Apr 14, 2013 - 4:51PM

    Why are they referring to cyber-bullying and the expression of “illicit sexual desire” interchangeably? They are two different things.

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  • Arun Barkat
    Apr 14, 2013 - 5:05PM

    It’s not just the students that are being targetted. I have seen a few pages where comments have been made about teachers as well.

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  • Apr 14, 2013 - 5:07PM

    its often more trending in universities as well. specially at IQRA UNI AND CBM…

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  • Totoro
    Apr 14, 2013 - 7:27PM

    It hurts peoples feelings, they should be banned! Besides, it creates unnecessary slander and bad reputation for schools! People always remember the worst things better, they forget good stuff easily but the bad things remain in minds for a long time. Even if in a whole school, just a bunch of students are doing bad and despicable things and those are being published on a public forum, it will destroy the reputation any way. We live in a conservative society where most teenagers’ parents are unaware of the full extent of ‘stuff’ that happens in schools, like drugs and sexual activities. Those students who refrain from all this and are innocent, if their parents or families get wind of dangerous confessions, they will face accusations or maybe even they’ll be pulled out of those schools!

    Innocent and lighthearted confessions were phir bhi okay, but now people have started to misuse this and take great malice and pleasure in bitching about and hurting people’s feelings. These pages should all be banned.

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  • Farhan
    Apr 14, 2013 - 8:26PM

    @Nouman Ahmed: When ET site can’be shut down by PEMRA. how come they will notice those pathetic confession sites :D

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  • doom
    Apr 14, 2013 - 8:31PM

    I could be wrong but this article seems overly exaggerated to me. Went through the KGS page. I don’t see any bullying or anything particularly obscene.

    The bit about the girl being “flexible” appears to have not been taken seriously by anyone. And calling guys gay…please. Every other sentence a teen boy utters involves calling somebody or something gay.

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  • Ammar
    Apr 14, 2013 - 10:02PM

    As a student who has been subject to this bullying I would like to say that people might thing that these type of thing have no effect on the other person but they do. People from my school linked me with some girl, i never liked. It totally ruined my reputation infront of my teachers who knew about these pages but didnt do a thing. Thank God these pages are now finished warna this was the easiest way to harass, insult or bully somebody without revealing your identity.

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  • BLing BLing
    Apr 15, 2013 - 12:44AM

    Just saw the KGS page right now and looks like their own version of Gossip Girl. Let the kids have fun, when they get out in the real world, they will look back and laugh at these things because the real world is a lot more hostile.

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  • Nobody
    Apr 15, 2013 - 3:09PM

    @BLing BLing:
    Let the kids have fun you say? This isn’t fun it’s ridiculous and while it’s easy for us to dismiss it, teenagers are at a sensitive point in their life. Their skin is not as thick yet and throw in self esteem issues and you’re headed for an emotional disaster. It would be easy for let the kids have fun if kids hadn’t committed suicide as a result of cyber bullying. And I don’t mean one or two kids.

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  • PakistanTimes
    Apr 16, 2013 - 2:31PM

    “BULLYING” culture is rampant in Pakistan in every form: cyberbullying, physical, social, overt and covert.This is a great blog to sensitise both victims and also general public (particularly the school going kids and youth) on how to DISCOURAGE bullying at every level. There have been cases in our country where teens have taken their lives and resorted to suicide as a result of bullying, peer pressure or blackmailing. Bullying is not only inhumam, immoral, cheap, but also our religion does not permit it. Please step forward and stop bullying wherever you see it. UNITE AGAINST BULLYING.

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  • Omar
    Apr 18, 2013 - 9:46PM

    I also run fps school confessions page

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  • R
    Apr 21, 2013 - 8:33PM

    A fad does pass away ,however with consequences that we can not predict.
    We tend not to take anything seriously unless our own kids or close aquainted fall prey to it.
    Hurting each other should never be a trend especially amongst kids .This seriously needs to be paid attention to at every level.Recommend

  • Valkiez
    Jun 5, 2013 - 4:36PM

    This kind of “trend” is something that needs to be stop. Hurting other people is NOT something to be proud of, and people behind these absurdity needs to be highly educated. Adults and other people incharge should not tolerate this behaviour because this is very destructive to the subject’s life. Me as a mother, I always make sure that my kids are strong enough to stand and fight against bullying, as well as protected.
    I came across this safety application that will let my child alert me and my husband whenever she’s in trouble, http://safekidzone.com/

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