Another ominous email circulated this past week from the “no-replies” district email. The subject line stated, “Unauthorized Instagram Account with the School’s Initials—PHS and Logo.”
As an editorial board, we fully support investigating and seeking to end Title IX violations such as the latest social media account, which was called “PHS Confessions” and contained several harassing messages targeted towards students. Often times people forget that harassment comes in all different forms and on different platforms. Bullying is not just spreading gossip around the school campus. It can be over text, email, or even social media posts.
But we, and the administration, should not have to tell you this. All students should have taken the chromebook test that defines what cyberbullying is, and while over the years it may have become redundant and repetitive, cyber harassment is not a redundant topic.
High school is a time when we strain against the boundaries imposed by society and battle with the frustration of feeling like an adult, yet being labelled as a minor. The hackneyed phrases criticizing social media and our use of it have grown tiring to all of us. However, if we want to be treated like adults and stop the scolding, our actions and decisions must reflect that.
Many of us will be old enough to vote in the upcoming presidential election and all of us are steadily inching closer to adulthood. The society we’ll be jumping into is currently barrelling down a one-way track towards full-scale social media dependency and internet obsession. When we get there, it’s essential that we know how to navigate for ourselves.
Despite its potential for harassment, we think social media is an important platform to share voices. We are a generation reared in a time when information sharing and interactions have been revolutionized. There are so many positive aspects that have resulted from these evolving technologies.
While we’re still students, we should use common sense and not perpetrate social media harassment of any kind–especially when associating that harassment with our school and its reputation. That being said, there are valuable ways to utilize apps like Instagram to spread ideas, creativity, and positivity. A few of our favorite examples include @_pophs, a page run by yearbook; @pusdcuties, an amazingly kind and positive account; and @phsbananagram, which features photos of students around campus enjoying the tasty yellow fruit from food service.