Social shaming

Students create Instagram accounts to make fun of their peers

The Millard West bad posture account (“badposturemwhs”) shows students slouching showing how improper their posture is. Most of these students don’t even know their photos are being placed on the account which is a larger controversy in itself.

Photo by Quinn Burton

The Millard West bad posture account (“badposturemwhs”) shows students slouching showing how improper their posture is. Most of these students don’t even know their photos are being placed on the account which is a larger controversy in itself.

Alexis Bahensky, Opinions Editor

Social media has always been the center of teen insecurities. Recently, Instagram accounts are being created by students to humiliate and shame their peers on subjects such as posture, parking and more. While most see this as a harmless joke, in some cases, it has been taken too far. 

Platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and others have already been the center of controversy surrounding teens and mental health. A Pew Research Center study found out that teens who are on social media for three or more hours have an increased risk of developing mental illnesses, both mild and severe. Having accounts that are publicly shaming students will only cause mental distress to increase.

Those same platforms have also been used to humiliate countless people. There is already a huge controversy on the subject, with some people saying it’s wrong to shame people publicly, while others say it calls people out so they fix the issues. Now that it has been brought to high schools, it’s unsettling to think about what is going to be said or done by students because of this new trend.

 Most accounts, such as “mwhsbadparking,” are relatively harmless. Most students are able to get a light chuckle at the expense of their peers being called out for their terrible parking skills. License plates are blurred out to protect the person’s privacy. This sense of anonymity is better than outing people directly. Most creators state that their main goal with the accounts was to not only get a few laughs, but to also fix parking issues within their schools

As for the Millard West account, I do find it humorous. It has, so far, not caused any problems among the students or staff here. It is relatively harmless, and it seems that students are even parking a bit better than they have before because of the fear of seeing their car pop up on the page. While it won’t stop everyone from parking terribly, it has a slight benefit to it. If it was a problem, students would be saying something about it; however, most say that they may tease their friends if they find them on the account, but they won’t go as far as to make fun of them for it.

This is one of the more tame accounts that have been popping up. Others have taken this harmless joke and turned it into an attack on students and in some cases, even staff members. 

Bad posture and sleeping accounts, while getting a few chuckles here and there, cause a bit more controversy. Some accounts will blur out the faces of these students, just like they do on the parking accounts; however, many don’t bother to keep the anonymity of their peers. High school students are self-conscious enough as it is, especially in our generation: gen Z. We don’t need accounts calling people out for things they don’t even know about. Not to mention, most of the photos sent in are without the consent of whoever is in the photo, which is another violation of a person’s privacy. If a person agrees to have their photo sent in, then it’s not as big of a deal, but sending in random photos of your friends, other students and teachers is unethical.

The worst of the worst of these accounts would be those centered around gossip and drama. While this isn’t a large problem for Millard West, it has caused large dilemmas in other schools around the country. The drama accounts that have been popping up because of the social media trend used to call people out cause the most controversy. While most are anonymous, people’s lives are being outed to their schools. Even though you won’t know the name of the student most of the time, some people don’t want their lives shared with the world. Students have to share their own stories of course; however, some who are also involved in the drama don’t have a say in the matter.

Those drama accounts only stir up more trouble. While bad parking accounts get a few laughs, accounts, where students are leaking private information, are only created to out others. There are no good intentions behind these and they can be justified in no way. These are a form of cyberbullying. Also known as “tea” accounts, they are only used to spread gossip and rumors around a school. Some are created to get back at a particular student without getting in trouble as it is hard to trace these accounts to the source. These are the accounts that need to be shut down the most. Some may think it’s harmless, but it can severely impact a student’s mental health because their private life is being told to the entire school at times.

Some of these accounts are harmless, others need to come down. We need to learn to identify which accounts are there for giggles, and which ones are there to target students resulting in a decline in mental health.