Wasn’t going to, but having read a post on one of these “Spotted” pages on facebook, has fired me up. The actual post itself is not important, but what I think of these pages I think is.
To quote my facebook status “All these “Spotted” facebook pages. Hope the admins realise they’ll be kicked off facebook. Does the phrase online bullying mean anything?”
Online Bullying I hear you say? Yes. It is. This is a relatively new thing, but a quick google search brings up this article from Dec 2012;
Since their inception, I have hitherto ignored comments made in poor taste about people on ‘Spotted’ Facebook pages. Although not very pleasant, frankly, I wasn’t bothered. I must however vocalize my discontent in the wake of being threatened by whoever runs the ‘Spotted: In Coppers’, and ‘Spotted: Dublin Bus’ pages.
After highlighting that a particularly vicious post made about a young girl amounted to cyberbullying and indeed telling the pages administrators exactly how I felt about them, the page they are running, and indeed the contemptible nature of bullying, I was informed that I should watch what I was saying, because this brave anonymous group are ‘‘closer to you than you think’’, I was also told that ‘‘you obviously have no friends or life, actually we’ve looked into it. You don’t’’.
For the past number of weeks, newspaper headlines have been telling us horrendous tales of young teens taking their own lives as a result of the distress caused by online bullying – this is becoming a serious national issue. We are faced with the question, ‘why are these kids doing this?’. If we look at the behaviour of many university students, the generation above them, it’s easy to come to a conclusion; they’re learning it from adults. The anonymity of the internet has enabled a kind of flippant vitriol, throwaway malevolence that we would dare not say in person but are free to utilize behind the subterfuge of online
The idea of “Spotted” was brought to me by a suggestion on one of my facebook pages. “Do you think it’s a good idea to set one up…” was asked. I searched on FB, and found quite a few. The description of the page is normally like this “Ever wanted to write that rant, or make that comment but dont want to cause an argument. On this page you can, Message me with your message and i will re-send it as my own status. 100% anonymous!”
But if you look at some of the content (of which I’m not posting any links to any page) it makes for awkward reading – specially when people are being named. This in fact is why I’m writing this now. I saw a post about someone I know – and it wasn’t very nice.
In these days of social media, and all the untoward that goes with. How does Facebook let sites like this carry on. For the main part they’ve got T&C’s to uphold, and in fairness, these pages violate those blatantly. But what about the lemmings that “like” these pages? You may actually like one yourself and thought “oh, it’s a bit of fun”. But underneath that surface, how would you like it, if a post was made about someone you know. Would you think it unfair or nasty? If you don’t think it’s nasty, then I might as well be talking to the sheep on the Brecon Beacons.
The point behind this, is to make you think. Make you aware.
First thing to do is on Facebook. Report the post. Facebook makes it quite easy and user friendly to do this and “walks you through” the process. Or check this website out;
More info about cyber bullying there.
Speaking as someone who has had his fair share of “anon” posts (although actually, that post had your IP address all over it – bit silly to do that from the office PC wasn’t it…), this phenomenon of “Spotted” is probably just a passing phase…. but why should passing phases be bullying?