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Facebook 'confessions' craze hits S'pore schools

A Facebook page set up for NTU students to post anonymously on a range of subjects. Younger students are now following suit. (TNP FILE PHOTO)

Publication Date : 14-02-2013

 

SINGAPORE: The allure of confession pages is now attracting a younger group of students from secondary schools, junior colleges and polytechnics. Confession pages, set up by students in Singapore universities and first reported last week, are the latest craze here. This Valentine's Day, students are turning to their keyboards to profess their desires and share their unrequited feelings. And already, users are getting younger as some follow the example of their lovelorn counterparts at the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in spilling secrets online. Schools which have their own pages include Raffles Institution, Hwa Chong Institution and Victoria JC. There are at least 30 different confession pages from Singapore institutions on Facebook.

 

The allure of confession pages is now attracting a younger group of students from secondary schools, junior colleges and polytechnics.

Confession pages, set up by students in Singapore universities and first reported last week, are the latest craze here.

This Valentine's Day, students are turning to their keyboards to profess their desires and share their unrequited feelings.

And already, users are getting younger as some follow the example of their lovelorn counterparts at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in spilling secrets online.

Schools which have their own pages include Raffles Institution, Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) and Victoria JC.

There are at least 30 different confession pages from Singapore institutions on Facebook.

Many posts are about secret crushes and "eye candy", like one found on the St Andrew's JC page. It said: "Wish I had the courage to have a conversation with you, one on one, instead of waiting for the impossible to happen."

But most of the entries by younger students seem tamer than those on the universities' pages. Some reminisce about fond memories of school life.

One post on the Catholic JC page said: "Most memorable moments in CJ were throwing people into the pond on level 3, throwing people into dustbins, 'tau pok' and setting fire to biscuit tins in class." Tau pok refers to a practice of students stacking themselves on each other.

In a response to The Straits Times yesterday, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said it is aware that the increasing pervasiveness of social media will give rise to new forms of exchanges and sharing of information among students. "We expect our students to conduct themselves responsibly and sensibly online as well as to respect one another's privacy," said an MOE spokesman.

One of the administrators of the confession page for HCI students, who declined to be named, said the page was set up by a group of friends for students to "get things off their chests anonymously". The page is so popular that, at its peak, 30 submissions were received every second but each was checked before posting.

"We try our best not to post anything salacious that will harm the school's reputation," he said.

An HCI spokesman said that their students are advised to be considerate of others' feelings, both online and offline.

A spokesman for RI said: "We trust that the administrators are discerning, respectful and sensitive to others when moderating content to be posted."

VJC principal Chan Poh Meng said that the school recognises the influence of social media and will continue to educate students on using it responsibly.

Social media experts The Straits Times spoke to expressed concern about such sites.

Universities are larger, so some level of anonymity can be preserved, said Dr Lim Sun Sun, an associate professor of communications and new media at NUS.

"But when used within a smaller community like a JC or a secondary school... it's easier to identify individuals," she said.

Not everyone is fascinated by these pages. Former RI student Natasha Yokoyama, 18, said: "The only purpose... is to entertain kids who do not know how to make better use of their time."

 

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