Facebook fad opens Marlborough students up to bullying
Marlborough student Abbe Johnston has noticed a Facebook craze that opens classmates up to online bullying. Abbe decided to write this story to let people know what is happening.
It starts with a seemingly friendly Facebook status, saying "like for a name", and on this occasion followed by a heart emoticon.
But behind the heart is a hidden agenda.
Friends of the poster hit 'like' and are sent the name of someone they know by private message. The friends then write a comment about that person below the original post.
It has developed from the "like for a like" phenomenon, which encouraged teenagers to say nice things about each other.
But more often than not, the comments with "like for a name" are nasty.
Marlborough Girls' College student Lisa Boult said the "like for a name" craze encouraged online bullying.
"I've seen how these statuses hurt people and it isn't fair," Lisa said.
The fad allows students to spread negative comments about each other and set so-called friends up for public humiliation, she said.
"People are purposely giving out names to others that they don't like, therefore expecting bad comments, encouraging cyber bullying for their own entertainment."
Some students had even started posting "like for hate", where people received nasty comments about themselves if they liked the status.
Lisa said students interacted with these posts, and invited the hurtful comments, because they wanted to know what other people thought of them.
"People look at it as humorous and think it's a fun thing to do, to hurt people, but then again others crave the drama," she said.
"In the society we live in, everyone is obsessed with celebrities, scandal, drama, and it's exactly the same around adolescents towards themselves. If two people have an issue with each other, others find it their business, and share it on for entertainment."
Marlborough Girls' College guidance counsellor Julie Saul said the comments could undermine students' security.
"It could make 20 people feel insecure, 'Oh is that about me?' Then if a person sees it and can identify it as 'Oh that's ...', well of course that is going to have a harmful effect."
Students had come to Saul for counselling after receiving "like for a name" comments, which were "inflammatory gossiping" and "not necessarily true".
"I think it's public shaming and people can feel humiliated. On the other hand, the person that posts it and makes that negative comment could also be attacked."
WHERE TO GET HELP
• Lifeline (open 24/7) – 0800 543 354
• Depression Helpline (open 24/7) – 0800 111 757
• Healthline (open 24/7) – 0800 611 116
• Samaritans (open 24/7) – 0800 726 666
• Suicide Crisis Helpline (open 24/7) – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
• 0800 WHATSUP children's helpline – phone 0800 9428 787 between 1pm and 10pm on weekdays and from 3pm to 10pm on weekends. Online chat is available from 7pm to 10pm every day at www.whatsup.co.nz.
• Kidsline (open 24/7) – 0800 543 754. This service is for children aged 5 to 18. Those who ring between 4pm and 9pm on weekdays will speak to a Kidsline buddy. These are specially trained teenage telephone counsellors.
• Your local Rural Support Trust – 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)
• Alcohol Drug Helpline (open 24/7) – 0800 787 797. You can also text 8691 for free.
• For further information, contact the Mental Health Foundation's free Resource and Information Service (09 623 4812).
- The Marlborough Express