Students disgusted by sex pages
WARWICK students have condemned the creation of gossip sites that aim to degrade and bully local teens, saying they cowardly promote “bogus” rumours.
Several Facebook pages have been created over the past few days which allow users to email sexual and demeaning comments about local teens, which are posted online anonymously.
The Daily News has chosen not to name the pages, one of which invites teens and others to “rate” the performance of sexual partners and which had by yesterday accumulated close to 300 “friends”.
Assumption College Year 12 students Morgan Brown, Laura Fischer and Nat McKay yesterday slammed the creation of the degrading Facebook pages, saying they heard about them when they arrived at school where “everybody was talking about them”, and said the comments had already hit home.
“One of my friends has already been attacked on one of the sites,” Laura said.
“I think it's disgusting and if you hear a rumour you don't have the right to spread it around, whether it's true or not.”
The pages are part of an online trend sweeping Australia, with many other cities and towns being featured on similar sites.
“This stuff is worldwide and people just want to jump on the bandwagon because they think it's cool,” Laura said.
The girls described the creators of such pages as “cowardly” and said cyber-bullying was by far the most common form of bullying today and was made easier by their free access to technology.
“People should be more conscious of the fact they are going to get caught and if there is a problem they should talk face-to-face, not hide behind a computer screen,” Nat said.
The Assumption seniors said their school did a great job of denouncing cyber-bullying and said they felt comfortable talking to their teachers about almost anything worrying them.
The school last week held an Arts Council performance to educate the students on the impacts of cyber-bullying and the issue of party drugs.
A local mother – who didn't want to be identified – said the issue of cyber-bullying was running rampant and was particularly prevalent among teenage girls.
She said her daughter attended Warwick State High School and Facebook pages like the ones mentioned would be detrimental to the students involved.
“It's shocking and degrading and some of the stuff on there is going to affect these kids emotionally,” she said.
“The kids who have made these sites don't have to show themselves and can say anything, whether it's true or not.”
Over the past year the woman's daughter has had to deal with bullying on social networking sites and she said often the bullying was done at school on mobile phones.
When the mother was asked whether she believed the school did enough to stop the bullying, she replied “absolutely not”.
“We are told to just ignore it. It's not going to end. It will never stop because they're sneaky and they know how to get away with it,” she said.
Some victims named on the sites have responded, making threats of violence against the creators.
Warwick Police officer in charge Senior Sergeant Stewart Day warned anyone thinking of making a site designed to bully others could land themselves in hot water with police.
“Using social networking sites to threaten violence, intimidate or harass is an offence and users can be charged by police,” Snr Sgt Day said.
“We can make applications to the social networking sites to see if pages can be removed and we can also try to trace the (computer) IP address it came from,” Snr Sgt Day said.
He urged anyone targeted by the creators of gossip sites to contact police, rather than take matters into their own hands.
Education Queensland regional director Greg Dickman said while there was no place in schools for cyber-bullying, parents were ultimately responsibility for behaviour children engaged in after school hours.