Popular apps, such as Snapchat and YikYak, are at the center of controversy across U.S. college campuses.
I have personally seen the unofficial accounts for CSUSB depicting sexual indecency anonymously, publicized with little to no repercussions.
In my opinion, schools should educate students on repercussions for posting indecent content or inappropriate commentary on social media.
Some students create unofficial public accounts on these apps for their school and let people from all over campus post on them without rules or regulations.
These free forums often lead to students going overboard and crossing personal boundaries for other students.
In a recent Buzzfeed.com article, the Feminists United on Campus (FUC) social organization from University of Mary Washington (UMW) was sent death threats for speaking out against sexual assault and derogatory language used against females on YikYak.
The FUC sent UMW administration complaints and reports about derogatory comments said on YikYak, but were not helped.
The university reported that because they were a public institution, the First Amendment protected the use of free speech on the app and one could not be denied their freedom of speech, according to Buzzfeed.
If I had seen death, rape, or any other kind of threat on any form of social media, I would have immediately reported the activity not only to my school’s administration, but the police as well due to the fact that a threat is criminal activity.
I understand that freedom of speech is an individual right, but when your life is threatened for speaking out about equality and respect, action needs to be taken.
People do not realize that “free speech” is really “restricted speech”; one cannot defame or threaten any person in any form of communication because that person has the right to sue or press charges.
“I think people should be free to say what they want, but that doesn’t mean they’re exempt from the consequences of what they say,” said student Felicia De La Isla.
The CSUSB Snapchat account became a topic of discussion across CSUSB due to the content posted on it.
I would see lewd pictures and comments being shared, often times featuring sexual activity.
“It made our school look bad. You know they’re going on but you never witness it. Then you started seeing them on the CSUSB Snapchat story,” said student Jesse Perez.
But what were the consequences?
The Snapchat was taken down a couple of times but no one knew what happened to the people posting the videos or pictures.
When I asked students if they knew what happened to the people who posted the obscene content, they all responded with, “I just know it was taken down.”
In my opinion, schools across the U.S. should hold seminars or online courses teaching students appropriate social media etiquette.
“Maybe we should have a workshop or seminar about Internet etiquette and have it open to all students…You do have to think about what you say whether online, on the phone, or in person,” continued De La Isla.
“I think media is another form of social interaction….If we’re teaching people not to rape, we should teach them not to make rape threats on any form of social media,” said student Kirk Ambriz.
You should be conscience of what you are posting and how you are interacting online. It seems like common sense, however, some people are unaware of the content they post because there are no immediate consequences.