Ask Me Anything
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. All these social networking sites are used daily by SI students trying to tell jokes, get assignments, and share updates. With the integration of iPads to the school curriculum and a (mostly) good internet connection, it's no surprise that students flock to these social media sites. One of the latest fads is a website called "Ask.fm," which gives students a place to ask each other questions, as well as show off their own cleverness by concocting witty retorts to questions left in their own inboxes. However, Ask.fm differs from the other social medias in an extremely fundamental way --most interactions on the website are anonymous.
This anonymity can be fun and harmless when users leave jokes or compliments in their friends’ inboxes, but can also lead to some serious problems. Jazzi Sullivan '15 says, "For some people, it's a way to kind of show off knowledge, humor, and wit" before quickly adding, "but it can also become really dangerous when anonymous people abuse it by projecting their hatred and insecurities onto others." Ask.fm is a haven for cyber-bullies who know they can get away with their hateful comments by using the ask anonymously feature.
In the SI Student Handbook, it is clearly stated that any and all harassment is unacceptable, including any sort of social network communications that are "cruel, demeaning, sexual, discriminatory, or intimidating in nature." Under the technology section, it states that students ought to present their best selves online, adding that anything written online can be saved, forwarded, or screen-shotted and can remain online forever. Students should be prepared to accept disciplinary consequences for any technology-related choices they make that are out of line with the mission and vision of the school. When asked her thoughts about the website, Dessa Rae Del Corro '16 comments, "I think people are unaware that others can see what they're posting. Even if it's anonymous, that doesn't excuse stupidity."
As of now, there is no real way the cyber-bullying can be brought to a halt. Ask.fm has its own button to report inappropriate behavior and allows users to block and report any questions sent from the account of another user. However, this feature becomes moot when one realizes that a bully only needs to log out of his or her account to resume sending hateful messages. The school has yet to add Ask.Fm to the ever-growing list of blocked websites when using school Wi-Fi, and even if that changes, students can still post from their phones or at home.
We all go to this school and call ourselves a strong community, one that opens our eyes to the world and teaches us how to become “men and women with and for others”. However, SI students seem to forget how to be with and for others as soon as they walk out of class. Even online, once a wildcat, always a wildcat, and we need to remember our Ignatian teachings.
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