Rocklin Approval opposes real-life interaction


Two girls create a Twitter account, Rocklin Approval, to give anonymous compliments to high school students in the surrounding area.

Two girls create a Twitter account, Rocklin Approval, to give anonymous compliments to high school students in the surrounding area.

Social media: today’s new pitfall of human interaction. Why say it in person when you can say it on Twitter? I think that’s the real problem these days. People have simply lost the ability to communicate face-to-face. When in person, human interactions fall through.

Yet hidden behind a computer screen with a snazzy account name, all of a sudden you’re the most genuine and sincere person in the school. What I don’t understand is where the divergence comes from in people’s personalities. Whether you’re involved in real human interaction or if you’re online, you should be the same person.

All over the world, severe cases of bullying weasel their way through schools’ so-called safety systems. Every day, millions of children get teased in high schools across the country. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, in the 2009-10 school year, 23 percent of public schools reported that bullying occurred among students on a daily or weekly basis. In the same school year, 17.6 percent of high school students reported cases of cyber bullying with 19.2 percent of high school students reporting cases in schools with 1,000 students or more, such as this school and nearby Rocklin High School.

To me, this seems to be a double-edged sword. Students can either be uncharacteristically nice over the Internet, or cruel beyond belief. Yet the majority of bullying is recorded to happen in person. Now, we focus so much on being nice over the Internet that we neglect what is really important: human interaction and relationships.

Here’s the bottom line. It should be the simplest thing in the world to walk up to a stranger at school and give them a compliment face-to-face. If students must hide behind a username to “approve” of everyone in Rocklin to somehow combat cyber-bullying, then something just isn’t right. The core of the problems are in person, so the solution should be too.

I myself was mentioned on Rocklin Approval. For about five whole seconds, I felt great about myself. Then the reality hit me. Someone had to post it online to give me such a compliment. Sure, it felt good to be mentioned, but I also know it would have meant so much more if it had happened in person. I know this, because someone has given me the exact same compliment in person, and that is the feeling that sticks with you.

A trend of positive Twitter accounts such as Rocklin Approval seems to be swarming the Placer area. Along with the original Rocklin Approval, Lincoln Recognition and GBHS Love (Granite Bay High School Approval) post daily compliments about high school age students in their town. Please don’t get me wrong, I commend the fact that students in high school are taking it upon themselves and going out of their way to compliment others and try to brighten the city’s youth. However, I do not overlook the nature of the situation; the Intenet is neither the place for bullying nor the place to right the wrongs of those bullies. Human interaction and relationships cannot be neglected.

These students are already doing so much for their town with the creation of these accounts, but it’s a positive step in the wrong direction. If the problems are happening in real life, the solution needs to be found in real life.

A lot of the time, the problem with bullying is the anonymity in it. For cyber-bullying, the bully is never revealed. In bullying outside of the Internet, the anonymity lies in the promise that the victim will not report the instance. The first thing this community must do is disregard the anonymity in human relationships. We build strong relationships with people who we know and connect to. Although receiving a compliment is a good feeling, the real goodness comes from a complete relationship with people who make you feel good about yourself all the time — not just from an account who publicly mentions you once.

Rocklin Approval has taken a step towards improving their community. Now it is the community’s turn to look at the promise in this situation and create a real change.

Instead of continuing on with the dedicated following that Rocklin Approval has collected, I encourage its followers to branch out, off of the Internet, and spread the account’s message in real life. Don’t stay on Twitter and direct message Rocklin Approval a compliment about someone when you could go out of your way at school to find the person and tell them yourself.

Social media should not be a way in which society falls back on human interaction. Social media should embrace the human interaction already happening in the real world. When students spread positivity face-to-face, the chain reaction is enormous. Be a leader in the community and share positivity out loud. Let humans, not just a username, be the receivers of positivity. You can’t see the smile you create with a compliment when the receiver is hidden behind a computer screen.