The social media application, “Whisper”, is creating an environment that allows youth to bully or harass one another by posting public messages anonymously. An incident that happened near Franklin, NC affected a young man named Justin Crippen and his family. He was seventeen years old and had recently graduated from Union Academy. He was a committed soccer player and was very artistic, and enjoyed writing poetry. His life was recently cut short by a fatal car accident. While his family and friends are currently mourning, an individual chose to use the app “Whisper” to mock his death by posting “Justin Crippen died because he’s a pussy.” This form of bullying and/or harassment hurts not only the person being targeted, but it also hurts the people who love them.
Many other cruel posts have been posted about other students in surrounding schools. Examples of cruel posts that were posted about students at Franklin High School in North Carolina are “Who else thinks her butt is huge” and “This girl is pregnant?!? Looks like a time to be on MTV? Haha.” Posts, like these, have not only hurt the people the posts are about, but they also cause disturbances within the schools and the community. Some incidents that have occurred in the schools of Macon County, due to posts on “Whisper”, are physical altercations between students on school grounds and the circulation of rumors and gossip around the community. The “Whisper” app has caused disturbances in other areas other than Franklin, NC. At Marathon High School in Florida, there have been two battery reports, one disorderly conduct, and a possible cyber stalking case.
Students are not the only ones being harassed over the “Whisper” app. Teachers and faculty have also been the subject of cruel posts written on this app. Many of these posts had the potential to cause them to be terminated from their jobs or even to be arrested.
The “Whisper” app was meant to be a safe environment for those who want to confide their secrets anonymously, but the misuse by users who use this app for cyber bullying is making it an unsafe space. This is why WhisperText, LLC needs to update their policies about cyber bullying and use by minors under the age of seventeen years old. We are suggesting that WhisperText, LLC makes the following change:
• To require their users to provide their birth date before they download the app so their age can be verified.
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