Formspring: A Hurtful Trend

Abigail is 15 years old from Los Angeles, CA. She likes photography, spending time outdoors and creative writing. She loves English and Art History and hopes to travel around the world when she’s older.

Ask Me!   www.formspring.com

teenwriter2 asked… You’re so pretty! But why do you dress that way? And why don’t you wear any make-up? Why did you break up with him…. how could you be so mean? How could someone ever like you after what you did to her…she was your bestfriend….what’s wrong with you?

BrokenTeenager replied…. :(

 

Formspring, a website based on people asking questions anonymously, has become a huge fad in the teenage culture. Teenagers across America have set up accounts that allows anyone to ask a question in simple honesty. In some ways, Formspring is ingenious. Allowing people to ask questions that they wouldn’t have the guts to in real life behind the hidden mask of the Internet is sheer brilliance. However, this liberty is often taken advantage of amongst teenagers and exploited to such a high degree.

Life as a teenager is already difficult in real life, and adding an online component to the daily drama is absurd. So why do we do it? In some circumstances, it is a reputation one must maintain. Having a Formspring is a way to show superiority and defend yourself in high school warfare. It is a sign of popularity. Depending on how many people ask you questions on your page also factors into your reputation.

In other cases, it’s simply boredom. The worst excuse I’ve heard for having a Formspring is “I was bored over the weekend… so I made one.” Being bored doesn’t justify setting up an account that is pretty much a free invitation for negative comments. Whether one is seeking societal approval or is just “bored”, having a Formspring will be  detrimental to teenager’s self esteem.

However, (surprisingly enough), teenagers, either popular or not, aren’t invincible. They can’t control everything and have feelings that can be hurt. When teenagers have a free pass to write anything they want on the internet in complete secrecy, they abuse the privilege. Formspring’s main purpose (if there really is a purpose for it at all) is to allow people to ask questions in complete confidentiality, not to degrade someone else. I have witnessed horrible things being written on Formspring. Some of these thoughts are truly hurtful. If you know the person has a lot of confidence and he won’t be hurt by the snarly comment you left on his account, you’re wrong. However arrogant and buoyant someone may seem, just remember that we are all the same.

The important first grade mantra that usually causes nostalgic memories of elementary school comes into mind: Treat others the way you want to be treated. This saying usually travels to the back of our minds over the years as we experience bullying and the cattiness of other teenagers; however, as we grow older we can all look back and truly understand what this saying means. Don’t do anything to someone else that you wouldn’t want to happen to you. If you write nasty things on someone’s Formspring, place yourself in their shoes….will you want to be in that uncomfortable position? Would you want to have the gut-wrenching feeling that someone among the sea of students at your school doesn’t like you? It’s a horrible feeling that no one should be put through.

Formspring is a trend that needs to end. On October 16, 2006, 14 year old Megan Meier hanged herself because of some horrible comments a stranger left on her MySpace account. A young teenager, just like all of us, willingly ended her life because of hurtful comments on the internet. The devastation of this event rippled across America. People were astounded that words were so powerful.

Next time you read someone’s Formspring or think about posting, just remember the power of words and never forget the saying that will forever be engraved into the back of your mind, treat others the way you want to be treated.

 

To read more about Megan, click the link below.

http://www.meganmeierfoundation.org/

 

Informative websites about cyberbullying

http://stopcyberbullying.org/

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/TheLaw/teens-charged-bullying-mass-girl-kill/story?id=10231357

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdQBurXQOeQ

http://www.radicalparenting.com/2011/01/03/what-should-you-do-if-you-think-your-child-is-being-cyberbullied/

http://www.radicalparenting.com/2011/02/12/bullying-what-doesnt-work-victims-and-bullies-and-more/

 

 

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