Social media is unavoidable. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, Ask, etc., there are infinite ways to connect with people online. While cyberbullying is not statistically on the rise, there are still cases that affect students at Tigard High. Technology Night was held for parents to “increase knowledge regarding teenagers and social media.”
Associate Principal Barbara Proctor and Prevention Specialist Leslie Van Kleek led the discussion about the effects of social media on teenagers. A case connected to Tigard High that involved harassment, child pornography and coercion was covered to show that these issues can hit home. In this case, “child pornography” refers to nude images of a high school student.
Officer Danny Gill explained that if a person is prosecuted with these offenses, their phone, laptop, and any other device with evidence on it will be taken to gather evidence. After the authorities are done searching it, they destroy the hard drive and have no obligation to return the device.
Ask.FM, a site where questions can be sent anonymously was also discussed at the meeting. Ask has been reported to be the cause of multiple suicides due to “intense online bullying.”
“[Ask] is one of our biggest issues right now,” said Van Kleek.
Contrary to popular belief, the school staff does not go through your Twitter or Facebook in an attempt to find something that can get you in trouble.
“You have 600 friends on Facebook, some you don’t know, some you do,” said Proctor. “[One of those friends] turned you in at school.”
It is not Neffendorf or Pete who looks on your Twitter or Instagram and calls you into the office, it is someone who follows your account, takes a screenshot, and brings it to one of them. Sometimes it’s out of genuine concern, and sometimes a person just wants to turn you in.
So next time you want to publish a provocative or mean-spirited post on a public domain, think of who will see it, and what they could do with it. To learn advice about safe use of the internet, visit connectsafely.org.