Thursday, 19 January 2012

Gossiping - Good or Bad?

Hi all!

As it was the most depressing Monday of the week this week (according to scientific study), sometimes there can be nothing better than a little gossiping – particularly about celebrities. Let's be honest, everyone has done it at some point, even about people they know whether it was meant to be malicious or not.

Providing you're not at the receiving end of said gossip, it can help to relieve stress and feelings of sadness. Gossiping can get out of hand pretty quickly though, especially when it is malicious, and even more so when the people gossiping are kids.

Lately, there has been several news stories regarding one website, with one school in Dorking, Surrey petitioning to have it shut down following complaints from parents after their children had been bullied online by having rumours spread about them.

The site is called Little Gossip, and for those who haven't heard of it, it's a website where anyone (providing they are over 18) can post comments about anyone else in their school, college, uni or workplace. Users don't even need to enter any details about themselves to sign up & post “new gossip”. Everything on the website is anonymous. Although you have to be over 18 to use the site, it doesn't stop kids from misusing it, since all they have to do to gain access is to tick a box and click a button. There are no other questions asked!

Little Gossip's creators claim that the website is designed to “create some deep, clean, insightful and interesting conversation – as well as out and out gossip”. However it’s obviously not being used in this way. The site is only moderated by it’s members so only reacts when someone makes a complaint about certain comments.

I wanted to see what sort of things are being posted on there, so I did a quick search and came across a posting from a college (although there are still school’s listed on there. This is what I found:


There is an option to report these, however it's likely that similar posts will reappear regardless.
Like most websites, users get around the restrictions such as swear word blockers by spacing out characters and using numbers instead of letters etc, which makes it even more difficult for the website to be monitored. As members are not supposed to be under 18 using this site, they shouldn’t be able to add their school as a list of places, but unfortunately, kids are also adding their school names by shortening them or changing the spelling.

My advice to any parent concerned about this site is to try and search for the school’s name on there, and then report it to the site so they can take it down. The people behind Little Gossip say that they are against cyber bullying, but I think if this were the case, then they would take a lot more time to patrol the site themselves to remove slanderous comments.

I reported the above comment to LittleGossip by clicking on the “Report” button next to the post. I was then given a short form to fill in:

Although to actually report this comment, I had to star (*) out the bad words, and also tick all the boxes at the bottom even though it did include that content. Realising that, after a few attempts, I was presented with this message:

I don’t think I made the site much more positive, but it’s a start. This is another reason why I like working for GBK, I am one of the people that constantly monitor the site for these types of comments – they are removed instantly and members are warned about their actions, and as we’re real people, we don’t just have to rely on the swear word blockers to pick up on them!

To see news articles on this Click HereHere

Thanks for reading!

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