A headteacher has hit out at Facebook, calling it the “new toilet wall” after pupils across Brighton and Hove joined a page devoted to spreading vicious gossip.
Haydn Stride, head of Longhill Highschool in Rottingdean, has contacted all his school’s parents after he discovered students as young as 13 had signed as much as a page which targeting spreading malicious and unfounded gossip about other youngsters.
He said: “Facebook is the recent toilet wall. Beforehand children may need written gossip there – now they do it on Facebook.
“The toilet walls in our faculty are clean, but sadly Facebook is just not.”
Mr Stride said: “Facebook has to have better controls to forestall pages which encourage and make allowance bullying.
“Children get very hurt by things that are said and this needs to be stopped – Facebook can police itself better, it just doesn’t.”
Brighton and Hove City Council contacted all secondary schools within the city after Mr Stride, the raised concerns in regards to the page, believed to be called Brighton Bump.
He contacted Facebook administrators concerning the page, who subsequently took it down.
Mr Stride also recalled how some pupils had their accounts hacked by other youngsters.
Parents of pupils at Longhill were sent a letter which said: “It have been attracted to our attention that some teens were using a Facebook account inappropriately. We have got asked Facebook to take away this site.”
Other schools supported Mr Stride’s demand Facebook to raised police itself.
Diane Bonner, business manager of Patcham Highschool, said: “Like all schools we need to take care of the fallout of scholars misusing social networking sites to bully and disregard others of their own time.
“At Patcham Highschool we’re doing our greatest to lift awareness of the problems and to coach our students at the harm this may do to both the victims and the longer term prospects of the perpetrators.”
Austen Hindman, deputy headteacher at Hove Park School, said: “Our Learning Transformation project at Hove Park has shownus the positive effect of social media, but educating students concerning the dangers of the net needs to be a core a part of every school’s curriculum.”
Scott Freeman from Brighton hooked up the cyberbullying charity Cybersmile after his daughter was affected by internet trolls. He said: “The effect that cyberbullying is having on families and youngsters is basically devastating and time and time again we see it’s costing people their lives.
“They are left with this surreal amount of stress and hurt and we’re seeing almost daily everyone is taking their lives for this reason.”
A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “We were informed recently by a person school and youth work partners that local teenagers were using Facebook to spread rumours and derogatory comments about their peers. We responded by emailing all secondary schools alerting them to this issue and reminding schools of national organisations to contact and the way to request closure of Facebook pages.
“The email also encouraged schools to alert parents and carers and to revisit messages about e-safety and cyber-bullying. Schools responded positively to the sharing of this data.”
A Facebook statement said: “We are clear there isn’t any place for bullying or harassment on Facebook. When a page crosses a line and posts bullying content then we’ll remove it. We now have a true name policy and supply our users reporting links on every page of our site that allows you to flag content to us for removal. We encourage people use these tools with the intention to take appropriate action.”