Trending on TikTok is the "game" Guess Who?
Many are probably thinking of the harmless, classic game of Guess Who? That we all played as kids… This is not the case.
This new Guess Who, which is circling the world of TikTok, is used to bully and harass. By choosing certain words and pictures to hint at who a person is (usually in their school, by their peers!), others then guess who the person is.
This TikTok Trend quickly spread around early April of this year, and it is only growing and spreading to wider audiences. It has become a significant concern over this short time, especially in school environments where school logos are being used as channel logos.
Someone develops an account and begins "choosing" people to post Guess Who videos about. These pages are built to pick out students and encourage bullying. Nasty words and images are being used to cyberbully and make fun of the victim. Not surprisingly, one type of online bullying is impersonating accounts and sending hurtful messages through fake accounts.
This trend could also potentially unintentionally give out personal information about students. This could end badly for individuals, families, and schools for multiple apparent reasons.
One law around using a school logo is that the owner needs a formal authorisation before it can be used and displayed on any platform. This usually means the school principal needs to consent to its use. This would never happen in this context! This is only one of the countless issues with this trend.
Before this specific trend began, there was a similar trend, except it was called 'Starter pack.' People posted pictures of specific fashion accessories, brands, celebrities, or subcultures based on looks around particular "types" of people.
This new trend is even more distressing as it's not only categorising people into specific and hurtful groups but also generating fear of being one of those people that are singled out.
Students are afraid that they will be the next "victim" of this horrible trend—a trend that is becoming more and more of a threat to individuals and their safety online.
This is also a problem because it creates a chain reaction from a simple unnecessary TikTok post to an individual's safety and all of the possible actions which have to be taken to remove the post. All of this wouldn't have occurred if this unnecessary video of nastiness wasn't posted in the first place.
Seeing some of the "traits" of certain "types" of people makes you think of what group you would fit into and whether this is the kind of person people see you as. It puts a lot of young people into a state of anxiety. Whether this is what you want to be seen as and whether you even fit into a category. This could lead to so many other social issues. The fact that a harmless trend in clothing, hair, and style trends has so quickly become a way for young people to hurt each other, their families, and their schools is something that in this generation is possible thanks to inappropriate use of social media.
It also shows how social media can be both a blessing and a burden. How easily people can manipulate trends and turn them into negative ones. The people who watch these trends and participate in the so-called "game" are just as bad as those who initially post them.
If kids believe they are being targeted, they should let a trusted adult know what is happening; then, with help, they can report the video or account on TikTok by holding down on the video, selecting Report following the instructions provided. Take a screenshot that they have reported this.
As a student, seeing posts from young people around the same age as myself posting this kind of hurtful message about others is unbelievable, yet it is still happening.
When thinking about this trend, the first thing that crosses my mind is; how is this setting an example for our younger generation? Our younger siblings, friends, and any person in our lives. If it isn't setting a good example, then why is it happening in the first place? And what can we do to stop it……..the answer is always to speak up and report it to a trusted adult.
A note from Safe on Social:
Bullying is a learned behaviour.
Some of the most common reasons why people bully others include:
A coping mechanism and response to something stressful going on in their lives.
They are insecure and are trying to detract away from themselves by focusing on somebody else.
They are jealous and instead of understanding this, they have become abusive.
They may be concerned they won’t be accepted by their friends if they don’t do it.
When we are speaking in schools. Most kids feel that speaking to their parents is not an option. This is normal tween/teen behaviour so don’t think you have done anything wrong. Don’t assume that your kids tell you everything…they don’t. They are often concerned that you will do something to embarrass them or make it worse. Or you will ban them from their devices (don’t do that if they have spoken up about something).
Teach your kids the reason people experience bullying is not because of their sexuality, gender identity, race, appearance, disability, or any other unique factor; it is because of the attitude towards the factor. The only thing possible to change is attitudes. The person who is bullying them is the one with the issue, not them.
Remind kids they can speak to someone they trust at their school. Young people do not realise that one of the best things about school is that they have free access to a load of amazing services and resources (yes that includes advice from us) Counsellors, pastoral care who are trained to help with situations like this. The school probably has the most power in a bullying situation to help make it stop. Remind your kids they can speak to a favorite teacher, or the school wellbeing team. Remind them to take screenshots for evidence and not to bite back. Instead report it properly.
If it is online: Report it to the app it is happening on. Screenshot that this has been done. If the post is not removed in 24hrs report it to www.esafety.gov.au If the post contains threats of harm or is distributing image-based abuse report it straight to the Police or Crimestoppers.
The most important thing you can do when being bullied to protect yourself is to talk about it.
Everybody has a different threshold of what they consider to be serious bullying. Sometimes, the person who is bullying you may genuinely have no idea that it is affecting you. So if you feel up to it, telling the person who is bullying you can be really effective.
REMEMBER TO SPEAK UP!
Bullying is something that affects so many people’s lives, but many young people will never report it through embarrassment, fear, or a lack of faith in support services. Isolating themselves from support isn’t going to resolve the issue or help them handle the bullying. Often young people who are bullied will see themselves as victims, but it’s important that they learn to look beyond that and not let the bullying dictate how they see themselves. Again remind them to always speak up. If parents or trusted adults know what is going on we can help them.
Some forms of bullying may also be a criminal offence. If somebody physically attacks you, uses prejudiced language or hate speech towards you (such as homophobia and racism) or shares private information or intimate images online (image-based abuse) these are all cases that should be reported to the Police.
It is incredibly important that you teach your kids to go through the appropriate reporting channels. Talk to a trusted friend, speak up to a trusted adult, or call kids helpline on 1800 55 1800
I’m 16, and I joined the Youth Committee as I believe it will be such a significant learning experience that will go towards the security of the online world. I believe social media is such a large part of today’s world, positively and negatively impacting individuals and society. Hopefully, through the Youth Committee, I can help create a safer online space for everyone.