Social Media Savages

Social Media Savages

It’s no secret that social media has wiggled its way into everyone’s daily routines. As the social media world expands, so does our confidence, whether it’s for good or for bad. Social media makes it easy to say and do certain things behind a computer screen, but have things been taken too far?

Famous incidents like the Amanda Todd case showcase how social media has been used to attack and alienate rather than to communicate and unify.

When Todd was in grade seven, she was lured by an unidentified man to expose her breasts via webcam.  A year later, the man contacted her via Facebook and threatened her, saying that if she didn’t expose herself for him again, he would post the pictures of her breasts on the Internet.

In a heartbreaking video  Todd had posted, she explained that she didn’t know how he knew her name or where to find her. She claims the man knew her personal information such as her address, her school, and who her friends and family members were.

The man had created a Facebook page and made the photo of Todd’s breasts the profile picture. He then proceeded to add her friends and family on the page which led to extreme cases of bullying and harassment. Todd had to switch schools multiple times and suffered from depression, leading to drug abuse and self harm until she committed suicide in 2012.

Todd’s case was showcased worldwide and is a well-known topic by many. Unfortunately, similar circumstances are occurring everywhere, and that includes New Milford.

Twitter and Instagram, two of the most popular social media outlets at the moment, seem to be where misconduct is predominantly taking place.

Mrs. Dorene Zacher, the Student Assistance Counselor at New Milford High School, when asked if she felt social media made it too easy to post incriminating photos of others she said “Absolutely! I don’t understand why the kids, because they’ve had so much H.I.B (Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying) training, and cyber-bullying training… why they cannot understand that once you post something, somebody else will always have it.”

When asked if she sees instances like this happening locally, she said that because NMHS is a public school that it is, in some ways, inevitable. However, we are fortunate to have amazing students in our school that will report injustice or material that degrades NMHS or it’s students.

Movies like The Purge have inspired Instagram pages where teens can anonymously send in suggestive photos of others to be posted publicly with the idea that “Nobody is safe”. Pages such as these are promoting the public humiliation of others and has quickly become a trend amongst teens.

Tiffany Collins, a student at NMHS, says, “I feel that it is very disrespectful of people to take someones picture that was sent to them and put it on the Internet because that’s betraying trust no matter what type of picture it is.”

It all boils down to who’s really at fault. Is it the person who sends the pictures or the person who’s posting them? It’s sad to see that teens are putting so much trust into others, enough to send them inappropriate pictures of themselves. However, it’s equally disappointing how often this trust is broken when these pictures are posted online.

It’s apparent that teens are not understanding that the distribution of these suggestive photos is considered child pornography and is illegal.

The simplicity behind creating social media accounts using false information makes it easy to post incriminating photos of others without the backlash of them knowing who it is. Situations like this are no stranger to NMHS, with recent Twitter and Instagram scandals involving many of our own students.

“I think it’s very immature that people are posting them let alone sending them,” said a source who wishes to remain anonymous.

Despite the countless efforts of Twitter pages like @NewMilfordComp (read about it here),  It seems as if embarrassing others has become a trending topic.

When asked how she feels about people “exposing” others on social media, Kathleen Hanley, a student at NMHS, says, “I think it’s wrong and it’s a horrible thing to do. They don’t realize they can be ruining a person’s life”.