Anonymity online leads to rise in bullying

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Anonymity online leads to rise in bullying

Jane Zankman

Jane Zankman

Jane Zankman

By Howard Palmer, Staff Writer

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Making fun of someone for cutting themselves, having an eating disorder or looking different has always been a problem in high school, but when students are allowed to interact anonymously, there is virtually no risk of being held accountable for hurtful words, and bullying can run rampant.

Hsmemes.com, a website created this year by Spartz Media where students can post memes, photos with captions, on a page dedicated to their high school, has become a safe haven for bullies across the nation.

The website insists that High School Memes is a “safe” website where teens can “poke good-natured fun at high school life.” Yet based on the page for CHS and other MCPS schools, it is clear that students are not just having good-natured fun.

High School Memes allows students to anonymously bash peers and mock their physical, mental or health problems to a broader audience, giving them the ability to insult without consequence.

According to Hsmemes.com, the website ensures that students can be in on inside jokes that makes high school life funny.

This may be the case if people were posting harmless jokes, but they are not. They are attacking specific, named individuals.

The website gives students the ability to expose their peers’ problems to students everywhere, including personal issues.

This is not just an MCPS problem. Hsmemes.com includes schools from all over the country, giving the website the potential to become a problem that contributes to bullying not only at CHS, but all over the US.

Administration should get involved immediately and demand that the CHS page be taken down. In addition, Hsmemes.com should eliminate the anonymous option and mandate that users only post through Facebook or Twitter, making it impossible for students to hide behind their words.

Hsmemes.com has created a major problem in allowing students to anonymously bully their peers on a public spectrum, and something must be done about it.

According to assistant school administrator John Taylor, punishing students for online activity is a gray area because official policy is that they can only deal with problems at school.

“If the post or tweet evolves into a school problem, then we have jurisdiction,” Taylor said.