Terror on Facebook ‘Confession’ pages, from KGS to CAS

Published: April 12, 2013

These comments were not meant in good humour or jest. They were placed deliberately to ostracise and target certain students.

Rehtaeh Parsons was just 17. What could lead a 17-year-old to such a state that ending her life appeared to be the only way out of her misery?

Cyber bullying, it appears.

This case bears stark similarities to that of Amanda Todd’s – another teenager who took her own life early in October last year due to severe bullying over the internet.

Both girls suffered from acute depression due to the fact that nasty rumours and compromising pictures of the two had been making rounds online.

Teenagers can be cruel and intolerant. They can cripple your self-confidence to the point where you feel as though no matter what you do in life or how you do it, nobody will ever allow you to be you or love you for whom you are.

I was, indeed, saddened when I heard of both these cases.

When I was a teenager, cyber bullying wasn’t really a threat to our age group as the internet had only just started to gather momentum. Our interactions were limited to MSN conversations and, at most, exchanges via Orkut. However, the cyber space has changed and children in this digital age know how to use a keyboard better than a pen.

I shouldn’t, thus, have been surprised when I stumbled across various Facebook Confession pages, but I just couldn’t contain my horror.

To all those who believe that Pakistan’s conservative society could prevent incidents of bullying – akin to those suffered by Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons – from occurring here, I hate to burst your bubble.

It seems as though shows like Gossip Girl have left a notable imprint on youth here and they are not afraid to publish nasty rumours about their peers to socially annihilate them.

These pages have sprouted all across Pakistan and are run by teenagers who attend various schools here. Just type the name of the school followed by the word “confessions” in your Facebook search box and we will see a plethora of pages pop up.

Once you view the content here, you will find that Pakistani teenagers are no angels. They are no less cruel than their Canadian counterparts and have mastered the art of cyber bullying with various Facebook pages made for their respective schools.

Warning: Graphic content ahead

I skimmed through some of these pages to see the sort of entries students were posting about each other. Aside from overly sexualized content, what I found – characteristic to typical bullying – was that specific students were targeted for being different.

Personal remarks were made based on appearances – if you are fat, you will get a snarky remark which shares your full name and says that you just cannot like a girl because you are fat and thereby completely unworthy.

If you have a limited wardrobe, you are held to the same standard of contempt:

What was especially appalling was the sheer number of entries that propagated that certain students were homosexual.

In a country where homosexuality is highly taboo, it sent shivers down my spine to see full names of students here and claims that they are gay or lesbian.

Please do not get me wrong, these comments were not meant in good humour or jest. They were placed deliberately to ostracise and target certain students.

What I don’t think these teenagers think of is the repercussions outside of school that such posts could have.

A family member or any relative could stumble across the full name of their kin (this has happened) and may read many alleging that this boy is ‘gay’. This can lead to devastating consequences. If the child’s family is fanatical, he could be beaten and even killed by his family.

Let us not pretend that this is a far cry from the truth.

As for social consequences, at a time and age where all you want to do is to fit in, comments like so can be devastating to one’s self-esteem. I have no doubt that these students are mocked and avoided by the entire school based on these posts; that’s where cyber bullying can be so much more dangerous than just regular bullying.

The reach these posts have is unlimited; anybody can see them.

Hence, not only can the entire school read that a certain girl has terrible body odour, any person can log on to this page and read the same, much like I did.

This reach can make a child a target in many circles.

If say, this girl or boy decides to leave this particular school where he or she is being bullied and hope for a fresh start – much like Amanda Todd – it is virtually impossible because anyone can access the malicious posts and thus, there can be no fresh start.

With posts such as the above, it is clear that these teens will stop at nothing. How far they will they go to shun and snub their peers and spell out that they are unwanted and unaccepted is a topic I do not even want to contemplate.

What I do know for certain is that if this continues, it is only a matter of time before we hear of a Pakistani Rehtaeh Parsons and Amanda Todd, and that will be a sad day indeed.

It is my request, thus, to all parents to teach your child the value of tolerance and acceptance. Inculcate in them to be kind to those who are different and help them to understand the damage that can be caused by hate speech.

I further beseech all schools to keep a stricter eye on their students. In the cyber age, duties of teachers extend beyond just the classroom. Please keep checks on the cyber space to see if your students are being bullied. Report these pages for they use the official name of your school. You will be held accountable if disaster occurs and you could have an innocent child’s blood on your hands.

Please, put an end to these crude pages and posts.

List of some of the pages:

KGS Gossip World

 

 KGS Confessions and crushes

 

FPS OLDC Confessions 

 

Bayview high crushes and confessions 

 

CAS Confessions

 

BVA Confessions 

You can take action by reporting pages on Facebook.

Read more by Zahra here or follow her on Twitter @ZahraPeer

Zahra Peer Mohammed

Zahra Peer Mohammed

Former Blogs Desk Head and Senior Sub-Editor at The Express Tribune. She is a business graduate from the Queen's School of Business who tweets @ZahraPeer (twitter.com/ZahraPeer). She blogs at zahrapeer.wordpress.com

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Muhammad Talha Siddiqui

    These students from karachi’s elite schools are just as homophobic and misogynistic as the madrassa students these rich kids always look down on.Weren’t these top schools supposed to admit our best and brightest?
    Since when did behaving like bigots become socially acceptable? The management of these schools as well as the cyber crimes department should crack down on these psychopathic bullies inciting hate against other students.Homophobia & misogyny must never be tolerated.
    The sick students running these websites should be punished strictly & expelled from their respective schools.Recommend

  • Jamaluddin

    Agree with you and let me suggest another effective measure that was successfully implemented in the schools of our generation and if implemented in these mummy daddy schools, can certainly help and that measure is:

    Good old’ Chitrol in the assembly or infront of the class !Recommend

  • shazia khan

    Wah bhai wah,the bright future of Pakistan on display.These institutions are supposed to the best,so why are so many of their children behaving like mentally ill people.This level of hate directed towards ruining the lives of their fellow students.The people posting such vile things must be arrested and thrown in jail for a long time.
    Such creeps don’t belong in schools,they belong in jail.Recommend

  • Sa

    Good post! The worst part is that parents are unaware that their kids are being bullied. They hide nasty remarks and comments from their parents. My daughter was being bullied, not on confessions type page, but on Facebook, and as I am close to her and keep watch on her moods, I noticed sudden changes in her. She revealed her bullying in a piecemeal fashion which really unnerved me.It was a milder kind on Facebook, limited to f* and b words. However, on confessions pages, it is really really vicious.

    I suggest that parents should keep a tab on Facebook accounts of their kids and also search for confessions pages( that go with names of schools), which are open to all, and read comments to check if their kids are being bullied or not.Recommend

  • Asad Malik

    So,what else is new? Gays and women being targetted in Pakistan is an old story.Our society wears its homophobia and contempt for women like a badge of honour.These bigots spreading intolerance & hate are nothing new in our society.What is surprising for some is that the people in the elite schools are just as hate filled and intolerant as those attending govt. schools or madrassas.These people are just a reflection of the sexism & homophobia prevalent in our islamic republic of pakistan.Recommend

  • waqas

    Dear Lord, Please remove links and add screenshots with forged names and details to protect these kids’ IDs. Dont put them before stalkers.Recommend

  • Hina

    And now you are publicizing it to people like me who had no idea that they existed? well done Zahra, quite responsible attitude I must sayRecommend

  • Ya

    Kindly remove schools’ names that are tagged with confessions mentioned in the post. hundreds of people will login to these pages and would get to know the names of teens of these listed confessions.Recommend

  • Yoghurt lover

    This is a very good blog.

    This is what blogs are supposed to be.

    Good.Recommend

  • http://syedaabidabokhari.wordpress.com The Only Normal Person Here.

    Good blog. These pages should be down…About time facebook admin took some action against it.Recommend

  • Zahra Haroon

    Ridiculous. Good Job Zahra Peer Mohammed, it’s an eye opener for many. I hope and pray our younger lot remains safe and get over this stupidity. Ameen Recommend

  • YA

    Totally agree with the writer.. This should be taken seriously by School management.. But to be true, it is hard and a complex process to hunt the the real accused..!! Recommend

  • FPS alumni

    My school is among those listed in this blog. I’m ashamed and shocked. What a cruel world we live in :( Facebook should put down hate pages, also schools should definitely hire resources to monitor its web presence. Lord knows they take enough tuition fees to do it. Moreover, its not hard for these schools to hire a full time student counselor to help those being bullied and also those who are doing this. Recommend

  • Anonymous

    Why the hate against the author for highlighting this?

    Good blog post! Issues such as these need to be addressed. Adolescence is already an awkward time without having to deal with such vicious attacks. But this is nothing new, first it was limited to the classroom, now its gone social on the web.

    The point is to groom kids in order that they are discouraged from any sort of bullying at any point in their lives.

    Also, lets not make this Madrassah vs Secular education. I know some people just can’t help but bring it religion because of their own bigotry one way or another. The issue here is not the type of school but bullying. More specifically, cyber-bullying.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/1420/uzair-ibrahim/ Uzair Ibrahim

    The whole concept of these pages is at the height of stupidity… Why would one need some freakish page to confess a crush? Schools should monitor these activities and hire counselors to deal with the psychological effects these pages have on students. Recommend

  • Rakshinda

    Burger bacchas! its about time, you need to learn some respect for the under privileged. Good blog post. The only problem with this blog is that despite of the positive side it highlights the poor kids who were aimed to embarrass and this post will increase that. Please get those pages removed.Recommend

  • SM

    Do the right thing and report these pages so they get removed. Don’t go stalking the pages and names of students mentioned. @Hina: Recommend

  • SM

    Cyber bullying is awful but jailing minors is not the solution. The flaw is with the kids (highschool = Mean Girls’ style drama) but more with the parents who can’t educate their children to be more tolerant, kinder and better human beings. Maybe they should check their own attitude towards homophobia, hate speech and the tone they speak to their servants and drivers before these children who learn to treat others the same. @shazia khan:
    @Muhammad Talha Siddiqui: Recommend

  • Parvez

    That was not only interesting but educational for me.
    Recommend

  • http://www.fatinnawaz.blogspot.com/ Fatin

    Lyceum had one of these pages up as well, I’ve graduated but I emailed the director of studies to please have a talk with the kids about it. It seems they don’t understand how slippery the line between harmless fun and vindictive behaviour is.
    Taking the pages down can only do so much; I think the kids need some understanding, somebody should have a talk with them. Somebody who isn’t misogynist, racist or homophobic. Recommend

  • Skeptical

    Not only schools…..there are university confession pages too……where students make fun of their teachers as well……disgusting!! Let aside teenagers or school going children….university students (both Bachelors and Masters) who are apparently adults are indulged in such activities.Recommend

  • faryal

    good blog. but can u pls remove the links to all these pages. by admonishing them, u actually just publicised them even further. ET blogs are popular and many kids who were probably not even aware of these links know em. same goes for parents. Recommend

  • junaid

    similar happened in beacon house and they had to ban facebook.
    i had been requesting teachers that dont allow facebook in school as my son in lower grade is insisting me for a facebook account but they didnt listen untill that happened.Recommend

  • Ali

    this was a much needed blog!
    great job!Recommend

  • maila

    Most of the guys I’ve met from CAS and Bayview are actually very smug and condecending, they think they’re better than you just because they go to an elite school and the girls are stuck up. Recommend

  • http://scallywagandvagabond.com scallywag

    Then again given the current stigma and pressures of redundant ‘skimpy’ young women been air played over and over in our culture should we as a society really be surprised that a women can end being perceived as a ‘slut’ or a ‘whore’ for no more than the fact of her sexuality or simply existing? Then again that may all depend on how we define or qualify young women today…

    http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2013/04/rehtaeh-parsons-culture-of-rape/Recommend

  • Tamoor R

    These pages should be down immediatelyRecommend

  • Abdullah Minhaj

    I study in the CAS School. I got to know about this page today and from what I comprehend that my school is filled with small minded people, who cant see their own faults. It is strictly disgraceful. I wish to take this matter to my administration. I hope other schools do to. I dont feel proud to be a student right now. And I am sorry to all those people who are affected by this. Recommend

  • Sal

    This is not limited to top-notch schools, these pages also exist for some of the best universities of the country. I have come across these pages for IBA/AKU/DOW as well. You would think that people will mature once they reach a graduate school but seems like not. Recommend

  • Grammarian

    KGS is not Kohinoor Grammar School, FYI.
    Also Karachi Grammar School has a page too with gossip, crushes and other nonsense. So I guess that makes us grammarians equally dumb.Recommend

  • jerseybb

    I think it’s a pretty normal behavior for teens, once they grow up they will laugh it out. However upbringing at home and education at schools should help students know there is a subtle line between making fun and having fun. Don’t build your happiness on the misery of others…Recommend

  • Bhatti

    Lol. KGS = Kohinoor Grammar School.Recommend

  • Usman Hyder

    it was sad enough to see all the stuff mentioned in this blog regarding cyber-bullying and its disappointing consequences. what’s worse is the list of links to all the confession pages at the bottom of the article. It’s almost as if Zahra Peer Mohammad wants us to give it a good look. that’s shameful.Recommend

  • A teacher

    Dear usman,
    it is wonderul that Zahra added the links to these pages. People/Parents/School owners/Teachers must see them and must put an end to them. Schools have much more authority and responsibility in situations like these. All school owners must take these students to task who start these malicious pages. In a way I agree with you that these pages should be given publicity given that people will read the things written about certain targeted children, however, it’s when people will read such things will they realise that a change has to be made.
    Well done Zahra for highlighting such an important topic. Recommend

  • Turbo Lover

    Who invent such sick pages? I will tell you. It is the spoilt brats with more money than common sense. With some of the comments on the pages I have seen and become a victim of one appearantly, the culprit is usually someone who is immature and has a lot of free time. They decide to indulge in such degrading activities to vile away their time when they could have done something productive. They have destroyed the meaning of the word ‘confession’. It isn’t a confession if you decide to make fun of someone or do this so called confession for somebody else without their knowledge.Recommend

  • SID

    Maybe it would have been better if you didn’t give the links at the end.Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/SamiSaayer Sami Saayer

    I am a part of IBA confessions and that has nothing like this going on. maybe because the people on that group are a little grown up and mature. this is atrocious, not funny and should be reported to Facebook.Recommend

  • Imran

    I see people commenting above in favor of removing school names & links from this blog. However, although it may seem wild to some, I would suggest quite the opposite. This blog is in fact a very good effort & just highlighted the issue that is about to go off any moment. School & college administrations must take notice of such heinous activities. I would like to request everyone to keep an eye on the facebook & inform the relevant schools’ managements about what is happening over social media before its too late. I hate to say, but who knows if the next Amanda Todd is going to be their own teenage siblings.Recommend

  • Sigh.

    Its fun. :DRecommend

  • The Khan-Waterloo,Ontario

    Hai burger log and their burger problems Recommend

  • http://mezaajedeen.blogspot.com Tribune Reader

    Very well written Zahra Peee
    You touched on very important topic, this non tangible type of bullying can have long term psychological and social consequences on people as they reach adult hood
    Brave of you, might I suggest a sequel to this pc as to how such behavior is carried forward into adulthoodRecommend

  • Nobody

    @Hina:
    Do you plan on joining in on the bullying? The author is trying to make people more aware that cyber bullying is, no doubt, a problem everywhere. Some people on ET are parents; maybe they’ll know now to see what’s going on in their kids life, whether he/she is being bullied, or worse, bullying. Recommend

  • Rabia Azfar

    I agree wih you Zahra, thanks for being our voice. No need to remove the pages let us as parents go through and see what we are giving to this society. Behaviour building is something that has gone out of the schooling system and also Parents have simply given right to do anything to heir kids under the umbrella of FREEDOM. I am one of the affectee as Mother and begged the school to enforce ethics and complaince for web/socila media presence directly or indirectly(by studens). Schools should take serious action for the students behind these pages to set example so in future no other student should dare to use this mode communication.

    I am shunned to see that the most posts were done by the age group 12-15 years and the kind of statements given were obscene. I pray for the safety of all kids and hope now the Schools will take serious action.Recommend

  • blaizebob

    Good report on an important subject. More care to keep children’s, and schools identities annonymous, however, should have been taken.Recommend

  • noor

    Today I looked for a “Mama Parsi School Confessions” pages, and I did tumble upon one. I’ve been an ex for 3 years now, and still I had this nagging feeling to look out the page, if any. However, imagine my astonishment on finding a page, with NO likes (yes, none at all) and NO posts (call them confessions) !!! I mean, I was sure that after schools like Karachi Grammar have started such pages, MPS wont be far behind. But the consequence of my search left me felicitous. Although there ARE pages abusing Mamains, and we know that students from St Patrick are behind them. Yet still, happy to see that Mamains behave to this day. A proud Mamain ^_^Recommend

  • Parveen

    I think that you are exaggerating most of it. I checked out the links mentioned but most of the confessions are not as bad as you are portraying them to be. I could not find any explicit confessions on the CAS page, so I cannot understand why it is included in the blog. Also, the few confessions that are considered ‘bad’ are not at all what they seem. Sure, they sound bad outright, but when you read the comments, you find out that most of it was done in jest. Most people reading the blog have been duped by the fact that you have not included any comments of the above mentioned confessions, so they think outright that it is wrong without any knowledge to the possibility of it being done in jest.
    Also, you said
    “A family member or any relative could stumble across the full name of their kin (this has happened) and may read many alleging that this boy is ‘gay’. This can lead to devastating consequences. If the child’s family is fanatical, he could be beaten and even killed by his family.”
    Recommend

  • Malicious

    @Parween
    Have been observing it for quite a while now, Why do you(women) always use ‘gays’ when speaking or discussing such topics when also use could use ‘lesbians’ which might not be wrong. Isn’t this going against men, or is it that you women love to taunt men while safeguarding their own spotted sleeves?? Using of Lesbians would be just right for you than rather using Gays.Recommend

  • Rabia

    @Parveen I don’t know what is the definition of BAD for you. Please see one of the recent post on CAS dated 30th March. Do you think this is not bad, I can copy paste 10 more such obscene confession from C.A.S page.
    Please try to understand the objective behid this blog, it is important to tell kids how to use these tools with responsibility, inform School to set rules for the students to use School name on social media an comply to the rules, should not cross the line of fun to bully someone to an extent that kids start hating Schools and don’t feel comfortable going to their institutes. We as Family and School management should jointly address this Stigma. this is what the blog is all about, trust me not at all exaggerating. Wear my shoes please you will understand how damaging cyber bullying is via confession pages with Schools’ name.

    Confession # 224

    “I played with a footballer who was in the CAS school team. I shouted at him when he wasn’t playing well.
    He said, “I’m in the school team, you’re not.”
    I replied, “I don’t like getting raped so I rejected to be on the school team.”Recommend

  • Parveen

    @Rabia :You should understand that Rape is wrong and a terrible crime, however it is not the literal meaning of rape that is displayed here. Being ‘raped’ in a game means losing badly, not actual rape. That is not obscene, it is just something that teens say because they do not know how wrong it is. Also, I checked the page again and could not find any proper obscene confession. Could you please copy paste 10 of them for me?

    @Malicious: I did not write the word gay, I simply quoted it from the blog.

    Anyway, Tribune you just showed how you cannot handle criticism by not posting the whole comment. Having a blog means that all views should be posted (that are not abusive) and you failed to do just that.Recommend

  • Parveen

    You did it again. Is this even a real blog? Why can’t I have my comment posted in its entirety, there is nothing wrong or abusive in it. Shameful behaviour Tribune.Recommend

  • Mina Harris from CAS

    @Abdullah Minhaj: I know you and you wrote that you saw the page today, but all of us students know that you knew about it from before and have even sent a few confessions to the page. Stop pretending to be a saint. And you wrote that you hate the page, but in fact wont because you liked the page. So just stop this fake act. We all know the truth. Its time everyone else knew too.Recommend

  • http://live.com centarian

    As a C.A.S. alumini, I totally condemn this. It isn’t the school which bears the responsibility of these unspeakable comments. It can seriously damage one’s self esteem. Although the school has a “No bullying” policy, it’s oblivious to the cyber bullying going on it’s so called confession pages. As for E.T., I suggest you remove the school names from this blog to avoid public scrutiny. Recommend

  • Aunty Acid

    How come you posted the links to the confessions when you said that the students could be killed? Wouldn’t publicity of these pages give access to more people and hence increase the chances of a fanatical family member reading it and killing the student?????????Recommend

  • kinza

    Well I am a student at one such school. I agree, this has gone out of control. However, I must appreciate you for this blog. Actually made me realise about the consequences. I’d try my best to stop myself from such behaviour and would convince my friends to do the same as well.Recommend

  • farheen

    And you just told a thousand more people about this page existing – along with links an all.
    well done!Recommend