Facebook Confessions: Principals are furious over this latest fad

Facebook Confessions: Principals are furious over this latest fad

CREATED Feb 6, 2013

Reporter: Valerie Cavazos

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Facebook confessions: it's a fad and form of digital voyeurism that has some students hooked and some principals furious.

Principals at Tucson High Magnet , Catalina High, and Rincon High schools discovered these confessions pages and immediately took action to report them to Facebook to shut them down.

KGUN9 reporter Valerie Cavazos asked Rincon High School principal Catherine Comstock if she was surprised to find this kind of facebook page.  She said, "I was very surprised" to see malicous comments posted - presumably by students -- online. "The comments that were posted were often times degrading and offensive. There were racial comments that were concerning to us."

These "confessions pages" are becoming more popular -- popping up on social media. A UofA confessions page has more than 2000 likes.

Two university students told KGUN9 reporter Valerie Cavazos what they like about the confessions page. Pate Raulak said, "It's addicting.  It's fun to read what you normally don't hear what people say.  Jenna Aldulaimi said, "It's fun and interesting to see what people have to say, although people don't know who you are."

But the leading expert on cyberbullying, Dr. Sheri Bauman, thinks these anonymous confession pages are wide open for misuse.

After looking through the latest posts, she found some of them to be sexually explicit and extremely offensive, which she said seems to be much of the allure.

"It's not about unburdening oneself," she said.

She says the facebook pages may start out well-intentioned "to give people a place to talk about things that are difficult without being named thinking that would be helpful", but when cyberbullies enter the arena, the pages are likely to spiral out of control. "And feed it, exacerbate it and provoke further comments," she said.

And that's exactly what happened at Rincon High school. Wednesday morning, a student emailed the principal -- confessing -- that he is responsible for the Rincon HS confessions page. "And (the student) was very apologetic of it. He felt like it had not gone in the direction he had intended when he had posted it out there."

Principal Comstock commends the student for quickly taking down his confessions page and coming forward, "which we thought was very mature and very responsible. we're very impressed that he did that."

The Rincon High School principal is sending out letter to parents to make them aware of these facebook pages. Comstock is asking parents to advise their children not to participate on these types of pages and report them to Facebook so they can be taken down.