Though “Confession” pages are trending on the social media, the anonymous posts and viral threads can make a dent in the institution’s reputation

“I miss those drunken nights outside hostel and throwing stones at room windows in which lights are on. Juniors please don’t miss those golden moments”

“I was in 9th. A teacher asked me to meet him during the break regarding some competition. I went. He tried to sexually harass me. I hit him and ran away.”

“Once kissed my best friend's boyfriend. Couldn’t control myself. He used to come near the back gate daily to take her out. She is still my best friend... P.S - He is no more her BF,”

So varied are the confessions posted on “Confession pages”. These pages on social networking sites are used to post confessions by students and alumni of any particular school or college. The best part of these pages, most users feel, is the anonymity! Though some confessions are genuine and serious, most confessions are absurd and even lewd.

But these pages have become a rage among netizens. School and college students follow the posts and comments like a ritual. But most institution administrations are unaware of these pages and the damage they can cause to their reputation.

How it works…

If a student wants to share a secret, he/she can simply ‘like’ their institution’s confession page and select a link that is available in the ‘description’ column which leads them to a Google doc page for typing the confession and submitting it.

The administrator of the page then posts the “confession” on the page. But it’s in the hands of admin whether they choose to post it or not. But most admins are interested in posting candid posts, which later become gossips in institutions. Admins who remain anonymous often woo the students to confess more just to keep the rumour mills working overtime and increasing the page’s popularity. “Its 10,000 Likes for our page!! Way to Go!! Hope you enjoy the confessions!! Lot more to come in the future!! Stay tuned!!” – Says a post on the Anna University Confessions page.

“Hey friends, this is the place where u can confess your heart out ...... the confessions will be totally anonymous..... Even for d admin.... So ready, steady, go.” -- Reads a post of AIIMS confessions.

“The admin is not sleeping! I can only post confessions if people send them… Come on people, let it all out.” – is from Vikaasa school confessions. “It gives anonymity! What more you need” says Sibi a student of Pt.Deendayal Petroleum University, Gandhinagar. “In the present day world where close friends are hard to find it is an awesome place for an emotional outburst especially for the lonely people, who don’t get a chance to vent out their feelings,” he adds.

Says IIT-ian Anurag from Chennai, “These pages are extremely hilarious and I surf through the posts whenever I feel bored! The more hilarious the confession is the more it gets attention.”

“These pages are visited by almost everyone in a company including the boss” says an IT professional. “So, when a person wants to say something to the boss of the company with his/her identity hidden, these pages are a boon. They also bring together the interesting happenings of the day in a company at one place, which is mostly fun read”

“Most confessions target the girls which are highly abusive and bullying, even the words that are used in the post are disgusting. Most take it as a chance to make fun of girls in their institution” points out Anjali a student of National Institute of Fashion Technology, Kannur.

Students who have finished their high school or who get placed in a company look up the confession pages to get the inside story of an institution. Says collegian Nithya, “It gives me an inside view of how the students of an institution behave and treat others. The page indirectly helps me to get the actual picture of the institution and is better than the magazines the administration provides.”

“The confession pages give so much freedom to the student that they write anything about the institution without giving a thought that it can be read by anyone online,” rues Uma Ramesh, the principal of TVS Matric H.S.School, Madurai. “The confessions are fine as long as they are genuine. The problem is that most posts are highly abusive and target an individual teacher or student with their name mentioned. It is very stressful for a person when they come across a post that is abusing them.”

“Once a serious confession was posted and brought to my notice. I made an announcement requesting the students to talk to me or any staff in private about the problem so that we can take action, but none came out!”

“Confession pages provide an incognito platform to share stories or feelings with people who are related to them by profession or education” says Trichy-based media critic Arjun Arumugham. “In some cases posts about an individual leads to the violation of the person's privacy.” However, he feels it is just a fad which will fade once the fun is gone.

"It is detesting and revolting to even read the confessions,” says Amrutha Kuber, Social Media Marketing executive in Chennai. “The most horrid ones are when boys anonymously 'confess' about their crushes. And their friends tag the girl in the comments. These things are personal and to let the world know about it is not good. Besides, it brings a bad name to the institution. These pages clearly cross the line.”

Attention seeking gimmick

Opines Madurai-based Psychiatrist Dr. Shefali Singh, who did a study on the Confession pages, “This is not just confessions but cyber bullying. Most confessions target a particular individual. The person who is targeted would be mentally agonised if he\she comes to know of it. The ‘likes’ and comments that these confessions get just trigger the students to post more candid posts. It is a mere attention seeking gimmick.”

“Too much of personal information out in these pages in the form of confessions is highly dangerous for the students as they automatically become vulnerable targets for the “mobs”, who have fun in passing comments on such posts. It’s time parents monitor their children in social networking sites,” she warns.