The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Cyberbullying at WJ: The Unfortunate Truth about HSMemes.com

Normally, I am a huge advocate of this community, and I actually believe WJ is one of the best schools in the county. However, we are also the only school in the county that has been virally posting on “hsmemes.com,” which started out as innocent fun and has quickly turned into cyber bullying.

Hsmemes.com is a website that allows students to submit their own pictures and captions to easily create their own “memes,” which are essentially silly ideas posted on cartoon-like pictures, shared via social networking sites. Memes, in the most general sense, have been likened to genes, in that theyself-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures. Once students began breaking the rules of the website and naming specific people in their creations, more followed, and the Internet turned into a giant vindictive blood bath.

At first, some of the memes were amusing. Students shared inside jokes about teachers, or about situations that we’ve experienced as a community. Then, users began using the anonymity of the Internet to lash out at others. Certain students were “confronted” in multiple memes, and the humiliation did not end there. Others posted the memes to Facebook, and soon there were students fighting on behalf of both sides, all via the Internet in a matter of hours.

Recently, many memes have been aimed in the opposite direction, trying to mitigate the bullying with posts such as “Uses his memes, doesn’t mock others,” “Stop hating,” or “Make memes not meanies.” However, even these memes seem unnecessary. Instead, why don’t people stop posting on the site altogether? It appears that WJ students cannot handle the freedom that accompanies anonymity on the Internet, so the site should simply be shut down.

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We’ve seen this sort of abuse before with the website “People’s Dirt,” and the fact is, high school students apparently cannot contain themselves when they are given the opportunity to hurt their enemies (or friends, frenemies, random strangers, etc.) without consequence. While it is unfortunate, the site really should not continue to exist.

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