Bullying a growing problem on Facebook

DOWNEY - Starting off as merely a social network, Facebook has morphed into a website where teenagers target and gossip about others on designated Facebook pages.These accounts are "burn books" that have moved online where they can be publicly or privately viewed. Multiple accounts were created anonymously and mostly victimize students at Warren and Downey High School. Some of these pages include "Downey Burn," "Downey Shootinpage" and others that have derogatory and inappropriate titles. They range from everyday gossip, sexual connotations, comments on appearances, and offensive remarks about other people, often friends and classmates. These sites receive and post anything they want or other people can message them their rumors. "It makes us realize that anybody from schoolmates, neighbors, even 'friends' could turn out to be self esteem killers, only to leave us with more trust issues in our social lives," said Downey senior Sandy Fernandez, who was recently victimized by some of these pages. Some of these accounts have been deleted such as "Downey Smash or Pass." This page displayed a picture of a male or female student and people would comment on whether or not they would engage sexually with the featured person. Although this page is no longer in existence, many more pages are on the rise. Just this past week, two more accounts were created. "I'm generally indifferent about these sites. I think the people creating these accounts have some insecurities that they try to overcome through the attention these sites are getting," said Warren senior Savannah Vilaubi. Students have retaliated these "burn" sites by creating positive Facebook accounts such as "Downey Nice," "Downey Compliments," "Charming Downey" and "Downey Approves." These sites are also open publicly for people to compliment the teenagers of Downey on appearances or achievements. These accounts are not only limited to Downey, however. Cities such as Long Beach are also experiencing trouble with these offensive pages. This phenomenon may become a greater concern to teenagers as anonymous figures share hurtful rumors whether they are true or false. "Some people need to grow up," said Warren student Brandon Vasquez.

********** Published: March 3, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 46