Right. Where to begin...As I have mentioned before, I work at a college. Colleges are full of 18-22 year olds. 18-22 year olds have a lot going for them, like youth, energy, lack of cellulite. But they are severely lacking in a few things. Not all of them mind you, but many of them. Things like COMMON SENSE. Like being able to think something through four or five minutes beyond RIGHT NOW and see the consequences of their actions. Or inactions. There is a small gap in the cause and effect relationship concept for them.
What am I talking about, you may ask. I am talking about yet another bone headed website that students can now use to post things about their fellow students. ANONYMOUSLY. Check out www.juicycampus.com to see what I mean. Here, you can search on a college, and if the college has any postings, you can see what people have been saying about their fellow students. Things like "so and so is a slut" or Which guy is the best F*** on campus. And people can reply to these comments, anonymously.
First of all I find this to be a seriously passive-aggressive, cowardly concept. Secondly I find this horrifyingly hurtful. The things that are being said may be lies, they may be posted as a joke, but no one will know because it's all anonymous and like with any written material, the interpretation is in the hands of the reader.
I don't understand why students put anything hurtful, embarrassing or in some cases, disgusting up on any website. The things that end up on YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and now this site are ridiculous. Students don't seem to realize, or maybe they don't care, that administrators at colleges look at this not just to find out what our current students are doing, but what prospective students are up to. Employers use these sites to screen potential employees. And once it is up on a site, it can live on forever in cyberspace. Even if you pull it down, if someone grabbed it for their own use, or saved it in some way, it is forever out there.
I found out about this site because one of my work study students told me about it. One of her roommates was confronted this weekend by someone she does not know, who read on this site that she was a "slut". Roughly 8 people commented on her being such, one even saying that while they did not know her personally, believed it to be true. The student in question was devastated. According to my student, she is the nicest person, quiet and not trashy at all. I can only assume that if it is not true, that someone has reason to dislike her and is using this site to hurt her. But even if it were true, even if she is the biggest slut on campus, if you have a reason to dislike a person, deal with it face to face. Call the person on their behavior and hold them responsible. Don't take the coward's way out by posting anonymously on some lame site.
I am mindful of the young woman who committed suicide last year because some other girls decided to trash her on one of the other sites, MySpace or Facebook or such. She was so hurt and couldn't face her fellow students that she took her own life. Even if the things that were said about her were true, do you want to be the person who posts that truth and causes another person to take her own life?
As an employee at a college, I am responsible for not just my job, but to help build community. At a college where 95% of our students reside on campus, we need to be mindful of our actions and work at being not just a civil community, but a caring, nurturing community. This site goes a long way toward damaging a community, not nurturing it. I don't know that as administrators we can stop the use of the this site, but I think we need to take responsibility for educating the students on the ramifications of this kind of site. I would like to think that if there were enough of a backlash our students would just not use it.