Cyber bullies have found a new way to taunt and tease. A new trend called "teen shaming" involves posting videos and pictures of teens — some altered to include blunt "advice" and some showing unknowing girls in scantily clad conditions. It's a form of cyberbullying, and it's the latest trend sweeping through social media sites.
On the Facebook page "Hey Girls, Did You Know," teens post silly photos of themselves that are then altered to include "advice" to each other on everything from boys to makeup to fashion. Some of these pictures focus on innocent topics and images, while others offer harsh criticisms of girls' body types, styles and behaviors.
In a similar trend, teens are encouraging each other to post pictures of their unknowing peers before, during or after romantic encounters. A recent NPR piece told the story of a a boy who posted a picture of a half-naked girl lying on his bed. He also tagged the picture so that everyone knew who it was and so that it would appear on her page. Within an hour, the photo had 443 likes and 261 comments, with remarks such as "your life is officially shot," and "I think she gonna cut her veins when she see this." The boy, on the other hand, claimed he had 2,000 friend requests because of that posting.
It's the old story of the girl being shamed for rumors about her romantic life while the boy gets pats on the back and an elevated social status. Except that now, that social status has become a quest for "friend" requests and those rumors have become altered images that will never truly be erased from cyber space.
These new memes and trends have reignited concerns about cyberbullying and raised big questions about the legality of such public shaming. Teens who practically grow up online may think they can post anything and everything they want, but in many cases it's not only hurtful, it's illegal.
Have you seen instances of teen shaming online? Are you concerned about how this trend could affect your kids?