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Disturbing 'Playground Fight' Instagram Trend Arises in Liverpool

Daily Mail
It seems like whenever any tech trend takes off, bullies find some way of appropriating it. When mobile phones came along, so did text bullying, then when they became capable of recording video, happy slapping arrived. With social media, cyber-bullying blossomed, like some kind of hideous, abusive flower that sprays acid in your face when you bend down to sniff it. From Facebook posts to Vines to Snapchat, every platform has in some way or another been retrofitted to heartlessly jab at the weakest points of anxious kids.

When I was a kid, playground fights didn't really have any kind of organisational bearing beyond 'you, bike shed, after school, gonna get merked, innit', but now, apparently, platforms like Facebook are actually used to plan them. Sad, yes, but also utterly ridiculous. Now, much as Instagram has become a charming appendage to Facebook, 'grammed playground fight profiles have become a grotesque appendage to the Facebook groups which organise them.

Presumably it's fairly widespread, but the most noticeable flare-up appears to have been in Liverpool, as accounts have been set up to act as grim broadcast networks for schoolyard scuffles. None of them can be publically accessed, but most state that you need to send them a private message to get in, or give them a shoutout, whatever that means. What's probably happening is that a particular student is quietly running the account, and other students gain access by using a password or something.

Liverpool Echo
This kind of thing isn't difficult to stamp out once it's been found, as the promotion of violence, bullying and the use of real names without consent are all direct violations of Instagram's terms of use. They do have staff on hand to check through content and flag what isn't appropriate, but users are also advised to report anything they find which seems like it shouldn't be there.

Will the removal of these accounts cut this trend short? Unlikely, sadly. While it will likely slow it down, it will also probably encourage the kids running them to make new, more cryptic accounts under different names and email addresses to hide the scent. What they might do beyond that is move away from Instagram entirely. That's the root of the issue, really, it's not a social media problem, it's a school problem, and that's where it needs to be addressed.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Disturbing 'Playground Fight' Instagram Trend Arises in Liverpool Reviewed by Unknown on Wednesday, January 06, 2016 Rating: 5

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