There are social media networks everywhere. As a parent it's impossible to keep up with all of them! One I've found recently is Whisper. It allows people to type an anonymous statement and then tries to match it with a picture. (You can use your own picture!) After posting others can comment. It's mostly accessed through apps - mine is through the iPhone. You can explore new posts, popular posts, or even explore the posts in your area; even by local school! After seeing a post you can reply or even send a private message.
Warning: Some of the images and text at the bottom are disturbing.
I've been keeping up with Whisper recently to see what's going on in our area. Some of the posts are pretty benign - "Who's your favorite teacher?" and "Who do you have a crush on?"... Then you have the posts that are more scary! I've seen posts that include things like I like to cut myself, I'm being bullied, and even one that mentioned that a student wants to hook up with a teacher and the teacher wants to wait until after graduation.
With Whisper on your phone you can receive notices when someone nearby posts.... You can't though tell who is posting. The danger comes from students sending direct messages to each other with private information, students sharing private information that is identifiable, and of course my fear - a student posting a cry for help. What happens if no one responds? This environment is also too easy to see where bullying can occur.
I've been surprised on a couple posts that I'm pretty sure are the pictures of the student themselves. I would say it's good as a parent to find apps like this and keep an eye out. It's impossible to monitor them all, but knowing what social media your children use is a good start!
I'm near South Warren High School - you can search on a high school even on the website without going to the app.The question becomes where do these kids go for help? How do we protect our kids? I don't think keeping them off social media is the answer, that is just masking the problem. To me this is the equivalent of scrawling a message on the bathroom stall when I was in school. I think what social media really does, if we as parents do our jobs right, is allows us a look at what our kids are dealing with. These may not be messages from our kids, but for me these are messages from kids my child interacts with every day at school! It allows for better questions, more discussion, and if this is your child that is posting using their own picture and being bullied at school maybe a heads up?