Formspring: “Bully’s paradise”

Formspring:

Juliana Cavallini, Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: Some names changed to protect identities.

On Tuesday afternoon, Valerie, 16, goes home after school and unlocks her new iPhone her mom got her for getting straight A’s on her first progress report.

Six new questions. Could they be asking her where she got the chic new seude bag she wore today, or about why her and her varsity football boyfriend Alex just broke up? She wasn’t exactly sure, considering the fact she made this new “Formspring” last night before bed. She is now one of over eighteen million users.

You’re so full of yourself when you shouldn’t be because you’re honestly the ugliest thing to step into Ludlow High.

Stunned, she locks her iPhone, and tears stream down her face. The only thing she thinks is, This is what people really think about me? I don’t want to go to school tomorrow.

Formspring was created to “find out more about your friends by asking them interesting questions.” Users set up an account, follow people, and ask questions, with the option to ask anonymously. Users can choose to ban “anon” questions and have the ability to block selected people from asking further questions.

At its core, Formspring is just another social networking site. A user’s profile contains their name, a photo, and short biography. Formspring’s equivalent to Facebook’s “like” option is smiles. There’s an inbox with your unanswered questions and also a section for responses. Formspring made their website so “user friendly” that you can log into it with your Facebook account.

The problem is, people aren’t exactly just using this site to “ask their friends interesting questions.” Formspring opened a whole new door to cyber-bullying.

Senior Kaycee Pereira states she’s been bullied over Formspring numerous times.

“That website’s a bully’s paradise,” she says. Pereira added that when she was in a car accident she was accused of being under the influence of alcohol and anonymous posters have made unflattering remarks about her looks.

Pereira still maintains a Formsrping account, though.

“I don’t care what people post,” she says, “I know who I really am and that’s all that matters.”

***

You have dyke hair, fat feet and fat hands.

You’re ugly and you’re going nowhere in life.

No one likes you. You’re so ugly you couldn’t get a boyfriend if you tried.

These were all posted on 14-year-old Brittanie’s Formspring. She states that when she read this she “emotionally broke down. I always had self-image issues and was extremely self-concious. This made things worse and my issues harder to cope with

In a survey released on September 26, conducted by MTV and the AP, 56 percent of students claimed to be victims of bullies using electronic media. This figure rose from 50 percent two years earlier.