Two-Faced on Facebook

April 19, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Hutch News Project

Jan. 2012

BY: CHELSEY RIFFEL, SARAH WHEELER, DESTINY NICKERSON

At Sterling High School, 27 percent of the student body admits they’ve bullied someone online.

Another 20 percent admit they are the victims.

Sterling students are part of the millions of youth who use social media like Facebook They update their status, post videos and photos and browse through friends’ cyber lives. However, their online time doesn’t stop there. Some teens post controversial items. - making even a rural Kansas school not immune to the hurtful words posted on the Internet.

“This year I have been cyber-bullied two or three times. It isn’t just the same person each time its different people who do it,” sophomore Cassidy Dellinger said.

One in three people have experienced cyber-bullying and 50 percent of those victims never tell their parents, according to StopCyberBullying.org.

“I figured my parents didn’t really need to know,” senior Tim Martin said. “They probably wouldn’t do anything about it, and I thought I could handle it myself.”

When asked, 55 percent of students have witnessed some form of cyber-bullying and 77 percent said they responded to it.

“I have cyberbullied before,” senior Kira Jackson admitted. “It has given me problems for awhile. There is nothing positive that comes from it. I react to something I see, and I wish I wouldn’t have. I was just mad at this person and I just wanted to get back at them.”

The statistics are a concern.

“It is becoming more of a problem with all the technology we have,” said Sterling High School math teacher Wes Laudermilk. “Some reasons are Facebook and Twitter. One solution would be to possibly start with regulating social sites.”

About 85 percent of the Sterling High School students are active on social networking sites. Some post more than others.

“Even though I talk a lot during the day I don’t post online very much,” junior Kody Eckart said. “So if people just saw my Facebook, they would think I am really quiet.”

But do online appearances really shape outside opinions?

“I don’t think that people would ever post something on Facebook if they didn’t actually believe it,” junior Dani Dowell stated. “So of course your Facebook will change your opinion about people.”

So how do some people react?

"I act pretty much the same because everyone knows me. Why would I want people to think I am two different people? I’m just me because that is what I want to stay true to,” junior Karly Frederick said.

“Two-faced” attitudes isn’t the only problem from teens being active on social networks.

The New York Times published an article covering a 13-year-old Missouri teen Megan Meier who died Oct. 16, 2006. The leading cause was cyber-bullying.

Megan was friended by Josh Evans on MySpace, and they began to message back and fourth. Evans changed and put down Megan.

The final message Megan received said, “The world would be a better place without you.”

Megan Meier was later found lifeless in her closet after hanging herself using a belt.

After researching the case, it was discovered that Josh Evans was a fake account created by neighbor Lori Drew.

“It is cowardly, easy to do,” Brian Richter, Sterling High School history and government teacher, said of the problem. “The only solution is empathy and treating others the way you want to be treated.”

For more information on how to talk to your teen log on to ParentsConnect.com.


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