Concern as Surbiton School features on LittleGossip website
By Surb_People | Thursday, December 23, 2010, 12:55
A top Surbiton school has been unwittingly caught up in a worrying new website that has been described as a possible “vehicle for cyberbullying” . Surbiton High School has been allocated its own page on the website, without the approval of the school itself. On Tuesday the Evening Standard highlighted concerns about the ‘LittleGossip.com’ website which encourages pupils to gossip anonymously about other pupils in the school.
Surbiton cyberbullying concerns
The website allows pupils to post comments on a wall that relates to their own school or college and lets other pupils vote on the truthfulness of the statement. Many of the statements are highly personal.
The Standard state that the company that operates out of Belize and has hundreds of schools, colleges and universities with their own pages on the website. Some schools have been complaining and taking action to get posts removed and to stop students using the site.
We contacted Surbiton High School yesterday, but they said that there was nobody available to give a comment until 4th January. Many other top education establishments are also on the website including Eton, Harrow and Emanuel and Epsom College.
Mrs Marion Gibbs, headteacher at James Allen's Girl's School in Dulwich told the Evening Standard, “I'm just so angry that this vehicle for cyberbullying exists”. The Standard have reported that LittleGossip's creators have previously suspended the site although the site was back online as from the 10th December with ‘Report’ buttons next to posts that enabled users to hide and report offensive comments. On 13th December the site was designated for use by adults only with a check box to the gossip submission forum.
LittleGossip's founders have advised in an email to the Standard that: “A major aim for us is we want to eradicate the hurtful and offensive gossip that is posted by individuals completely and give our users more moderation over content submitted.” The site was launched “to encourage deep, meaningful conversation” and they say they are trying hard to “stop the unwanted gossip”. Although the site was up and running yesterday, it seems to be offline today with no reason given.
Cyber-bullying is perhaps the worst of all bullying for many of the young people today. It means that people can never escape the bullying with mobile telephones and internet devices being updated every second. The Government have set up a website that deals with the subject of cyber-bullying and you can access it here.
Despite there being an ‘over 18’ button, I think that this website could threaten the wellbeing of our local students. I hope that the authorities can act quickly to close it down or prevent individuals being named.
What are your thoughts on cyberbullying? Do you think I’m going too far by wanting the website closed or do you think that this is the price we have to pay for internet freedom?