To confess or not to confess…

SHRUTI PANIKER & ASAVARI SHARMA

Yes, that is the question. But it seems the answer is clear: Confess all that you want to, or have to, on Confession pages of social networking sites, say youngsters.

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Photograph by AM.

It was never wrong to confess, or was it? Ask the youth today and they will tell you it’s the most ‘cool’ thing to do. Not to your mom, sister, buddy or even the priest, but on Confession pages of social networking websites. It’s true the latest go-to ‘person’ for the young (and the wild) is Facebook where they not only catch up with buddies and check each other’s posts but also pour their hearts out on Confession pages, something they also term the ‘in thing’ these days. Love them or hate them, you just can’t ignore it.

GOOGLE ‘SPREAD’ 

Key in ‘Facebook Confession Pages Ahmedabad’ on Google, and a list of links appear on screen that will take you to a world you may not have known otherwise. Be it school, college, university or even a company, all seem to have a confession page of their own. It’s a no-holds-barred world that offers the youth a medium to ‘vomit out’ all that troubles them. And, an increasing number of Amdavadi youngsters seem to have got onto the confessional bandwagon recently.

DON’T GET SERIOUS, IGNORE! 

While most youngsters are busy posting, tagging, reading and trashing each other, some youths believe such pages are hyped for no reason and are only for fun. “I think the confessions pages are hyped. People often cross the line by commenting on someone’s appearance. I have also read confessions on the faculty and they haven’t always been positive. I think these pages are only for fun and not to be taken seriously. Also, I believe if you really like someone or have a crush, why confess it in front of the world? I do not favour the page,” says 20-year-old Nakul Vadhera of HLIC.

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Photograph by AM.

Students pour their hearts out to the ‘world’ on these pages. And what makes these pages a must-go-to site? Perhaps because these posts are anonymous and the identity of the user is not revealed or disclosed. The pages on social networking sites give its members — mostly students — the liberty to post thoughts, feelings and ideas. Be it proposing to the girl/guy you like, waging personal vendetta or commenting on the faculty and organisational practices, youngsters today have taken to this confessional route and yes, they have taken it to an entirely new level.

“Students post personal remarks about each other, even teachers and professors are ‘targeted’. Most times, it is not in good taste. One can’t even read some posts! Neither do I encourage being part of such pages nor do I visit these,” says Shubhi Singh, a BSc student from St Xavier’s College. “I don’t like to follow the trend either. The posts can be negative at times and can also affect a person’s psyche,” she adds.

NOT ALL THINGS NEGATIVE 

While one is baffled by the number of negative posts on such sites, there are also some who express gratitude to their school/colleges and faculty for having one. Prasanna Iyer, a graduate from Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, says, “I find the whole concept of confession pages uninteresting and boring. Students confess to crushes here. Then guys fight over girls and vice versa. “However, on the flip side, it is also a great platform to express freedom of speech. Introverts speak up and vent out their frustrations, often seeking solutions to problems.

There are also those who post positive things about their school, college and faculty. I have also seen many inspirational stories being posted on the pages of other colleges. But then, there are also people who post wrong stuff and spoil it. It’s how you take it that matters,” he adds. ALT, CLT, DEL Archan Shah, a 21-year-old student of Institute of Law, Nirma University, shares how their confession page had to be deleted. “We also had a confession page, but got it removed a month back. The fun series of posts soon turned nasty, even cheap and vulgar. Girls were being objectified and obscene remarks became the order of the day. The students blamed the Admin department, since these were approved and cleared by the team.

If it gets down to being this dirty, I think these pages should be avoided, rather, banned.” Following suit, a school’s alumni had to intervene and get the confession page deleted owing to harrasment. Says Ridhi Shiv of St Xavier’s, “I detest the idea of these confession pages. The derogatory remarks are uncouth and uncalled for. Youngsters follow it since it is the ‘in’ thing right now and it is ‘cool’ to be part of such pages. The worst part is when you’re tagged in such posts. I have seen girls go through mental trauma. It is not worth it, is it?”

Aarohi Patel of HLIC voices the same opinion. “Confession pages were started on a positive note but I think we have lost track. More than indulging in healthy discussions, such pages are now only lash-out-at-others platform. We too had a page which my seniors and faculty got deleted as it went of hand. The least we could do is stop or delete these pages.”

WHERE IS THE SOLUTION? 

Ravinder Kaur, diploma programme co-ordinator, MGIS, believes “it is a good platform for students to put forth their views”. She adds, “It is an easy medium to interact in a free environment. However, like there are two sides to a coin, such a site has its repercussions too. Students also use this platform to bring out personal grudges and post disgraceful comments. But then, it depends from institution to institution. If the institution conducts weekly counselling sessions, such negative aspects of the page can be avoided.

The students need to be guided on how to interact and, of course, not cross the line.” On the other hand, professor Vaibhav Kadia stresses on the fact that everyone has a right to freedom of speech. Kadia, who is part of faculty of Accountancy at HLIC, says, “In a country like ours, no one can deny another person the freedom of speech.” He adds, “There is a thin line between the good and the bad here. When it comes to social networking sites, none can vouch for authenticity or issue guidelines of usage.

It is practically impossible… the Bal Thackeray episode where two girls were arrested for posting their views on FB being an apt example.” Kadia continues, “While confession pages are creating a negative impact, there are pages where students can access and get study material. Isn’t that something positive? Anything that brings a positive social change should be acceptable. Or else it should be avoided.”

Published by Ahmedabad Mirror (Times Group) on June 2, 2013.

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