Is there something you want to say to someone, but don’t have the guts to voice it? Are you tired of holding back that one comment you’ve been dying to make? Well, there’s finally a solution. It’s called Temple Insults.
A Facebook profile under that moniker has been set up specifically to allow people to anonymously offend whoever they want. All you have to do is send the insult and the name of your target to the page’s admin, who will post it on your behalf. A lot of the posts are pretty funny.
Yes, it can be quite amusing. But the principle of the matter is filled with some moral ambiguity. Is it really OK to call people names or insult them publicly? It is, after all, an obvious form of bullying. Words are sometimes more hurtful than physical pain, and much harder to forget. Researchers at Purdue University concluded in a study called “When hurt will not heal: exploring the capacity to relive social and physical pain” that emotional wounds are remembered more vividly by the brain than physical ones.
Basically, sticks and stones may break some bones, but words can hurt till infinity.
Still, this particular page seems harmless. For the most part, it’s a bunch of kids sending posts to mess with their friends. Nothing there seems to be particularly malicious, and most of those commenting are just joking around. None of the posts are really hardcore horrible. A lot of them are just lame.
At the collegiate level, this doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem.
But what’s to stop this precedent from catching on elsewhere, like a high school or middle school? The percentage of bullying is already alarmingly high. According to The American Justice Department, one out of every four kids will be subjected to bullying of some kind during their adolescence.
This kind of page would be extremely attractive to the high school age group, as it is more interested in technology than anything else. It’s a lot easier, and is less likely to be detected.
I don’t mean to sound like some overeager whistleblower, though. I understand that the page has a major flaw that could render the attempts at using it for cyberbullying useless.
The person being verbally attacked is supposed to be “tagged” in the post for it to show up on their profile for more people to see. However, if this person is not subscribed to the Temple Insults page, they can’t be tagged. If a mutual friend decided to “tag” them, this would only expose them as the person who was dedicating the insult. This removes the anonymity of the posts, making the whole point of the page invalid. Whoever wants to post the insult might as well post it on Facebook themselves.
This obstacle could stop most kids from creating and/or using it. While it is still a risk, it won’t be as fun if it can’t be anonymous. It could also land a lot of people in serious trouble, which makes it a waste of effort and time. There is a plethora of other ways to insult and ridicule people that would keep them under the radar.
Honestly, while this could conceivably have repercussions somewhere down the road, Temple Insults isn’t really much of a threat to anyone. It’s comprised of some people having fun and messing around. I actually joined in and asked them to create a post about my friend being a lonely cat lady and having imaginary friends. We both thought it was hilarious, as lame as it sounds. In some ways, this could be an outlet for some of the stress that Temple students are under as the semester drags on.
I think the page should change its name to “Insults Anonymous,” though. It’s catchier.
Hend Salah can be reached at email@example.com.