Confession page fall-out
A derogatory Facebook confession page set up by a former student from a West Auckland high school has been shut down, with principals labelling it as "totally unacceptable".
The page, titled OMG Waitak, Liston and St Doms Confessions, was set up by an anonymous ex-student, from either Waitakere, Liston or St Dominic's College, and provided fellow pupils with a platform to confess about people or situations.
A mock-up of each school's emblem was used along the masthead of the page.
"Have that crush you want to talk to but don't have the guts to? Have that secret about that person being devious or malevolent? Or just have any confession. Share it on this page to release the pressure off your chest," it read.
The page was established on September 12 and had 647 likes before it was shut down this week following inquiries to principals by the Western Leader.
St Dominic's College principal Carol Coddington says the page was unacceptable.
"It defaces what we believe in and find acceptable. It is not what we would teach in digital citizenship lessons."
Ms Coddington says the schools will together look to see who's involved and will meet with them and their parents to take appropriate action.
"We will be talking with them about their social responsibilities and school reputation. We are looking at some sort of consequence. This is totally unacceptable," she says.
Ms Coddington says online media sites are an area schools need to be well aware of.
"Kids have access to sites at home and parents need to be aware of internet use."
Waitakere College principal Mark Shanahan and Liston College head Chris Rooney could not be reached for comment.
A year 13 student from Waitakere College, who didn't want to be named to avoid being questioned by staff, didn't realise how serious the page was but can now understand how harmful it is to a schools and student's reputation.
"I mainly thought it was funny. It was interesting to read anonymous things about people but then I could see the seriousness of it too because it was like bullying."
The Facebook page defaced each school's logo by taking their slogans and using them in a derogative way.
"Waitakere College, confession for all, and, Liston College, in Christ we confess," it read.
NetSafe executive director Martin Cocker says the cyber safety and security business deal with a handful of pages that have been requested to be taken down daily.
"The concept of trading in malicious gossip is not new. It's just that Facebook provides a good platform for students to do that as many of them have a Facebook page and access to the internet," he says.
NetSafe is an independent non-profit organisation that promotes confident, safe, and responsible use of online technologies.
Mr Cocker says Facebook confession pages are becoming popular and tend to break the terms and conditions of the site.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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