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The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

Anonymous accounts cause harm

Students deserve better than hateful, targeted messages
A+student+scrolls+through+social+media.+Photo+by+Maya+Smith%2C+graphic+by+Arabella+Gipp.+
Arabella Gipp
A student scrolls through social media. Photo by Maya Smith, graphic by Arabella Gipp.

I’m walking with my boyfriend to get slushies at a gas station. I let go of his hand, pull out my phone and open Instagram.

“DELANEY HAASE IS THE B****IEST B***H ALIVE,” are the words at the top of my feed.

Wait, me? What did I do?

“DELANEY U ARE F***ING IRRELEVANT”

Who wrote this?

“EVERYONE WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF U LEARNED TO JUST STFU”

Why would someone post something like this on Instagram?

I was shocked and then laughed it off, thinking it was a one-time thing, not knowing it would be my first look at Lawrence High’s new obsession.

Instagram accounts created by students intended to interact with the student body are becoming increasingly popular. Lawrence High has had a few, but the most prominent by far is the “confession account,” where anyone can respond to a Google Form with anything they see fit, such as complaints, confessions and lies. One of the main attractions of the account is the option to have your submission be anonymous.

After brushing off the post about me, I went on about my day. It wasn’t until later that night that I realized how much of a problem this was starting to become.

I opened Instagram and on my feed was another confession. About me.

As I read the post, my eyes began to water, and my tears turned into sobs. The contents of the confession contained extremely personal and private information that should never have been discussed with anybody except the writer and I. Not only did this person share a private event with the internet, but they took the opportunity to viciously lie and dehumanize me in the process.

Nearly every class I go into, I hear somebody talking about the confession account. The drama and gossip is exactly what our brains crave, almost like an addiction. When people mention the idea of the account being shut down, there is an immediate, aggressive response of disagreement, which scares me. The way people take enjoyment in the hate being posted makes me sick to my stomach.

There are some innocent posts, but the majority are disgusting and downright cyberbullying, such as one that read “i hate fat b****es Fat b****es are annoying asf.” The content on the confession account appalls me every time I see it, not only the things about myself, but what is being said about others. Even though I’ve been able to shake off things other people have said, some can’t.

One of the posts showed the sad reality of the way some students feel at our school. It read,

“I don’t know why I keep trying anymore,” and “I seriously doubt I’m gonna make it to graduation.” If this alone isn’t enough to open somebody’s eyes, the comment that reads “skill issue” on the post should be.

Cyberbullying on the internet is nothing new. As of 2021, 45 percent of students said they had been cyberbullied. According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, people younger than 25 who are victims of cyberbullying are twice as likely to engage in self harm and suicidal behaviors.

The perpetrators of cyberbullying were also found to have an increased risk in these behaviors. A 2016 study led by Christopher Bartlett of Gettysburg College surveyed college students and found that people who felt that their identity was hidden online were more likely to report engaging in cyberbullying behavior and holding positive attitudes toward cyberbullying.

School should be a place for learning and education, not a place that somebody, like myself, dreads going to every single day. The anxiety of wondering who is posting what about you or your friends is just one more added stressor to my life.

Knowing the statistics and the content of this page, who are we holding accountable?

Of course, the first people to blame are those who spread hate or cyberbullying through this outlet. However, bullies will be bullies, and that doesn’t usually change.

There are two entities that in my opinion, hold just as much or more of a responsibility for this page than anybody submitting an anonymous Google Form.

The first of those is Instagram. Meta, Instagram’s parent company, is currently in a 33-state lawsuit over its “addictive” features. Piling addictive, dramatic content onto an already addictive platform is a recipe for disaster. The main reason Instagram needs to be held accountable is its community guidelines, or rather its lack thereof. Meta defines hate speech as “dehumanizing speech; statements of inferiority, expressions of contempt or disgust; and calls for exclusion or segregation.”

Many of the posts remaining on this account that violate these community guidelines have been reported, reviewed, and approved to stay up on the platform by Instagram. Some of these posts include the text: “why do we let cripples live,” “i wanna fight that b**** if he see this meet me in the f****in  boys locker room,” and “Stop being yourself and maybe you’ll be likable.”

These posts are direct violations of Instagram’s guidelines and deliberate attacks, yet they were still approved by Instagram’s moderation team to stay on the platform.

The account owner also needs to be held responsible. The argument, “don’t shoot the messenger” because “it isn’t their fault” is an idiotic justification.

They created an anonymous space that is actively used for speech that humiliates, dehumanizes and harms others.

They have control over what speech is posted.

I urge the account owner to delete the account for the better of our community at Lawrence High. We are such a talented, diverse group of people capable of doing so much good. This is holding us back. Let our community shine.

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About the Contributors
Delaney Haase, Reporter
I'm a second year writer and reporter on the journalism staff. In my free time, you'll usually find me at softball practice, singing, acting, and hanging out with my friends.
Arabella Gipp, Designer
I am a second-year designer on the journalism staff. When I'm not designing, I play volleyball, listen to music, and watch Greys Anatomy.

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