Confession pages are popping up everywhere on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and teens and tweens are eating them up. What are confession pages and how adverse are they to today’s youth? Here are five things you need to know.
5 Things You Need To Know about Confession Pages
1. What are confession pages?
Confession pages are usually private pages on social media (specifically Facebook and Instagram) where young people post their confessions and secrets. A confession page can be started by anyone with a social media account and it is monitored by an anonymous administrator. Here is an example of a confession page on Instagram:
Kids today post things like secret crushes, confessions, lists that rank their classmates by “hottest” or “worst.” Some kids post their deepest wishes and sadnesses on confession pages and wait to see how many likes or comments they get. It’s a volatile place to hang out.
2. Kids in middle school and high school are doing them.
Confession pages started among college campuses, but have quickly filtered down to high schools and even middle schools. Most high schools and middle schools have their own secret confession pages that not many parents or teachers even know about. Curious, I did a quick search on Instagram and sure enough…I found that my old junior high school had a confession page.
If you have children or grandchildren who are of middle or high school age, it’s a good idea to sit down with them and have a conversation about confession pages. Since most confession pages are private, you may not be able to view them unless you’re invited by the administrator.
3. Are confession pages dangerous?
Since the nature of a confession page is secretive, it’s just asking for trouble. This gives kids the anonymity to post very personal information without consequences. Some may argue that confession pages are harmless and just an outlet for teenagers to express themselves. It’s a place to post who your crush is and see if she likes you back. Confession pages are also blank canvases for students to post about problems they are going through and for other students to offer advice.
However, more serious problems have occurred on confession pages like spreading rumors, posting falsehoods, and sometimes lurid or shocking details. This school’s confession page was exposed after parents and teachers discovered derogatory posts about sex and suicide. Another alarming example of a high school confession page was this one, “peppered with profanities, racy innuendo, and unproved claims” like one poster claiming to have sex with teachers at the school. These type of social media pages can happen anywhere: large and small schools alike.
Even at best, confession pages are a serious distraction that can suck students down a very self-centered and narrow rabbit hole.
4. It’s a hot-spot for cyber bullying.
Students who want to post a “confession” send it into the page administrator who then decides what to post on the actual page for everyone to see. Both the page administrator and the author are supposed to remain anonymous. It’s up to the administrator (a kid) to decide what goes up, but there is very little monitoring of those posts or the comments that follow.
Parents and teens who have been on these pages complain about the cyber bullying that goes on there. Because everything is anonymous, it’s a free ticket to harass, degrade, and emotionally badger other people. If you know about it, report it.
5. Be aware. Act accordingly.
Luckily, many parents, teachers, and school administrators are becoming aware of secret social media pages. But there are still many that aren’t, and lots of pages that slip through the cracks. If you have children in the middle and high school age groups, or are a teacher or principal, know what is going on. Listen to what your kids talk about, ask questions, and look for signs that cyber bullying may be happening.
The negative seems to outweigh the positives making confession pages just not worth it.