Column: NNHS Compliments fosters sense of community

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”Julia Oran” align=”alignright” width=”300″] NNHS Compliments is a great way to combat bullying.
by Connor Vasu

While debating the pros and cons of Facebook, cyberbullying is routinely brought up as a negative, which is one reason the school banned Facebook in the past.

However, this year, a few students started a Facebook page called NNHS Compliments, where students can anonymously compliment one another.

NNHS Compliments is a great social experiment, modeled after similar Facebook pages at Princeton, Columbia and Queen’s University, according to its Facebook page. The page proves that students, and people in general, can be kind to each other online. In the past few weeks alone, hundreds of comments have been posted.

Bullying is an issue that needs to be combated, but many students do not pay attention to the anti-bullying seminars. It is easier for many students to hear a positive message of encouragement and anti-bullying from peers instead from teachers. Unlike the anti-bullying seminars, the Facebook page fosters a sense of community without feeling forced.

Positive encouragement is important, and usually, students do not hear such sincere compliments online or in person. Compliments brighten the day of many students, and they put in place a “pay it forward” system where people tend to compliment others once they have been complimented themselves.

Instead of posting plain lies and snide innuendo that could harm people, NNHS Compliments makes it clear that nothing but compliments will be posted, which is unfortunately needed. Pages that include lies can deteriorate into insult pages that only feed fire to cyberbullying fans.

There are a few negatives to this Facebook page. Some people have not received compliments, and this can lead to resentment against those who have gotten multiple compliments. Basically, it can be portrayed as a popularity contest. However, the Facebook page shows that hundreds of students have received compliments.

NNHS Compliments shows that the online world does not have to be negative, and the page effectively counteracts cyberbullying through positive reinforcement. So go ahead and send compliments to others, as it may just brighten their day.