Interview with a young lady & Qooh.me explained

Jade* is 14 years old and attends a prestigious private girls school in Victoria. I have known Jade since she was 5 years old when I was hired to be her tutor. She has become a wonderful family friend and it has been fascinating to watch her grow over the years.

The Interview

What books are you reading?

The last few books I have read have been The Kite Runner, The Hunger Games, and The Carrie Diaries (from Sex and the City). I don’t really have time to read – I usually only read for 15 minutes at night before bed.

What is your favourite genre? Why?

Probably romance, drama and chick lit. That’s what all the girls at school are reading.

What websites do you visit the most often?

I suppose they would be: Qooh.me, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Dolly Magazine. I also do some online shopping with Princess Polly, Ice and Cotton On.

What is Qooh.me?

It’s a web site that let you ask people questions anonymously – but recently people have been asking me really gross questions so I am going to delete my account. It’s causing bullying at school too because everyone talks about the answers the get from people.

What apps do you use most of your phone?

I use Instagram (probably every second day), Facebook and Kick. I also use Snapchat but that has become a huge problem at school. Some girls have been sending inappropriate images around and then they get bullied for them because everyone passes it around. Everyone knows how to make a screenshot of a snap chat photo so it’s not private at all.

qoohme2

Image courtesy of qooh,me

Do your teachers know what’s going on?

No – They don’t really have any idea.

What TV shows do you watch? Do you watch much TV?

I don’t really watch TV. Sometimes I watch X Factor, Big Brother or Home & Away. Big Brother is huge at my school. Everyone watches it.

Who are your favourite bands/singers?

Probably Taylor Swift, One Direction and Justin Beiber.

Who are the celebrities you like/follow?

I am not really interested in celebrities to be honest.

What is ‘popular’ at your school at the moment?

Boys! All the girls talk about is boys. Other than that it’s Big Brother. Oh and everyone is obsessed with tanning. Some girls won’t come to school without their fake tan on. Everyone has Nike sneakers too. It’s popular at the moment to have black Nikes with a pink or white tick. All the girls wear heaps of sports gear too. Black leggings with a pink sports top and a grey jumper is really popular on free dress day. Windsor Smith sandals are really popular too even though they are really expensive. We are not supposed to wear makeup at school but everyone does.

CC Image courtesy of Kevin Wu on Flickr

CC Image courtesy of Kevin Wu on Flickr

What sort of clothes do you like?

I mostly shop at Cotton On and Factorie.

How do you mostly talk with your friends after school? Text/Facebook/Twitter?

Texting I suppose – I would text two or three friends every night after school.

Discussion

Having known Jade for a number of years, I had already pre-conceived most of her answers. However one website I had not heard on was Qooh.me. Qooh.me is a social website that allows users to ask each other questions anonymously. It is super easy to sign up to and has no privacy settings or age restrictions. Therefore children, teenagers and adults can all be asking each other questions with no indication of who is who. Jade also spoke at length with me about how dangerous she thought the website was and how she was receiving some pretty inappropriate questions from unknown users. Renta Rowe – the principal at Ivanhoe Grammar in Victoria – has also witnessed Qooh.me becoming a problem at her school:

“[Qooh.me] is also a site that invites users to ask questions anonymously and therefore provides a protective platform for malicious questions and statements. The site does not seem to respond if a comment is reported and does not take down or intervene in the cyberbullying or trolling that I have witnessed my students experiencing.”

It is important that both teachers and parents are aware of these social network sites and whether their student’s or children have an account. The thing with popular social networks like these, new ones are popping up all the time (Qooh.me reminds me of a similar platform that was popular for a while called formspring.me now called Spring.me). However, we must try and keep abreast of what these teenagers are engaging with, in order to provide them with some kind of protection online. Bramley (2012) offers five ways parents can talk to their children about the dangers of Qooh.me which can be accessed here.

The best way to protect our students is to encourage open and honest discussion in your classroom at every opportunity. Knowing what your students are engaging in out of the classroom is a wonderful way to better know who your students are, and begin to understand the world in which they are living (as best they can).

References:

Bramley (2012, June 18). If you’re a parent you had better know about Qooh.me [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.barriebramley.com/if-youre-a-parent-you-had-better-know-qoohme/

Rowe, R. (2012, August 28). What is Qooh.me? Your tweens and teens are all over it [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://icybersafe.com/2012/08/28/what-is-qooh-me-your-tweens-and-teens-are-all-over-it/

Featured Image 1: Accessed from www.qooh.me

Featured Image 2: Accessed from http://www.kekicks.com/nike-free-run-black-pink-p-1427.html

* Name has been changed

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3 thoughts on “Interview with a young lady & Qooh.me explained

  1. An interesting interview!! I was interested to read about Qooh.me. I have never heard of it although that doesn’t surprise me! In the world of teen pop culture I really had very little idea but now I am definitely going to check it out. This subject has really opened my eyes to a whole new world. I also thought the comment about teachers having no idea was really interesting. As a Primary school teacher I don’t seem to have that issue of the students knowing more that me. There is an interesting article by Losh and Jenkins (2012) that explores the very issue of kids knowing so much more than the teachers. I guess that idea is also confirmed by Prensky’s (2001) discussions on digital natives v digital immigrants. It goes to show just how important it is for teachers to be on top of at least some of this technology.

    Losh, E., & Jenkins, H. (2012). Can Public Education Coexist with Participatory Culture? Knowledge Quest, 41(1), 16-21.
    Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On The Horizon, 9(5), 1-6.

  2. Wow, I’ve learned a few things today! I had never heard of Qooh.me or Snapchat. I’m not surprised that her teachers don’t know what’s going on. It brings up the issue of how teachers and schools can combat cyber bullying. There are so many new social networks emerging that it is understandable that teachers would have trouble keeping track of them. Is the answer just in educating students on how to deal with these situations, or does more than that need to be done?

  3. I too have never heard of Oooh.me but am glad that you and Jade have brought it to my attention. I am going to talk to my friends (who have children) and students at my school about the dangers of this site. It’s good to hear that school principals are educating their parent and student bodies about these sorts of websites as well as cyber bullying issues in general. When I conducted my interview with a 16 year old girl she told me that the cyber bullying presentations she had watched regularly at school had had a significant impact on her. She reported that she does not engage in any form of social media or participate online as she was scared off by these presentations. I think this is testament to the success of such programs and a timely reminder that as educators we must keep informing our students about how to stay safe online. In light of the other comments that suggest there is a continual emergence of new social networks, we must remain vigilant and at least spread the word when we hear of such malicious, unprotected sites. Stay safe everyone and protect our young people!

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