Hundreds expressed their outrage yesterday as a highly controversial post emerged on the anonymous Southampton Tell Him/Tell her Facebook page. The caption mockingly congratulated the Vixens on their recent championship win, as the picture displayed the cheerleader’s competition team photograph with numbers drawn on their faces in biro – a rating system seemingly based on their looks.
A rapid response to the image ensued, with some students leaving comments of appreciation for the “humour” of the post. However, the majority of comments were overwhelmingly united in their shock and disgust about the post, believing it to be a clear form of Cyber Bullying. Despite the outrage from students, the image was not removed until the next day after SUSU and numerous students reported the image.
VP Sport Elect for 2014-2015 Katie Lightowler was quick to respond to the post, and explained the magnitude of the situation to the Wessex Scene.
“The photo which was uploaded onto the Southampton Tell Him/Tell Her page caused controversy for a variety of reasons. Not only was it incredibly demeaning towards the Vixens Cheerleading Squad, but it also mocked their achievement. Although not being affiliated with this page, SUSU requested that the photo be taken down. It promptly was, accompanied by an apology by the page admin. I would hope that no incidents like this occur on this page again.
I’d like to thank all those that showed their support for the Vixens by reporting the photo. The Vixens were National Champions at Level 3 of the Future Cheer SNF Champs. I’d hope that if anything positive comes out of this incident, it is recognition of their incredible achievement.”
It is one thing to post on that page, but to publicly rate girls on an online forum such as Facebook is another. Cyber-bullying is an issue not to be taken lightly.Katie LightowlerVP Sport Elect for 2014-2015
While it is a comforting thought that SUSU are able to deal with such incidents effectively and quickly, the problem is they are unable to undertake any preventative measures to stop cyber-bullying on this page. The Tell Him/Tell Her page is moderated by an anonymous student, known to be a first year studying management. The real question is why more isn’t being done on their behalf as a moderator to censor offensive and abusive posts such as this. Is it not their responsibility as the moderator of a page with over 6,663 likes to be accountable for distasteful and offensive posts such as these? According to the NSPCC website 38% of young people have been affected by cyber-bulling. With the advantage of anonymity, bullies are able to use such a page as a tool to effectively target their victims without repercussion.
Perhaps this incident will be a learning curve for the moderator of Tell Him/Tell Her, who may take their role in our online student community a little more seriously and stop such incidents reoccurring.
However, let’s not allow this controversy to take away from the amazing championship win by the Vixens, which you can see in the link below.