How we look online

Students at Wilfrid Laurier University now have another site to worry about when it comes to incriminating photographs being broadcast on the Internet.

Room110.com was launched in early November and markets itself as a “reality blog” where Canadian university students can connect with each other and give others a glimpse of what goes on behind closed doors on their campuses.

While some are concerned about the drinking and overt sexuality depicted in the photos, BACCHUS coordinator Janelle Emanuel reasoned that the content of the photos was nothing new.

“Those things do pop up and occur in university,” she said.

However, unlike Facebook’s adjustable privacy settings, all submissions to Room110 are done anonymously and anyone with an account can see every picture on the site.

Due to the party-heavy and overtly sexual content, university administrators elsewhere have written to the site’s creators asking to have some aspects of the site removed. Some have even attempted to block the site from their networks.

Laurier’s section on the site remains minimal but has still generated anger amongst some featured students.

A post entitled “You can land a rich girl at Laurier!” showed a photo of four female Laurier students, referring to them as “by far the richest girls to ever go to Laurier.”

The caption, which posted the names of all four girls, proceeded to mock their alleged wealth, referring to them as “Daddy’s little girls.”

The caption ended by telling male readers, “Happy hunting, boys!”
The post was removed on Tuesday.

Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union public relations representative Pam Blomfield agreed that the content was not the issue for her.

“All schools have students who like to engage in activities that aren’t as responsible as they could be,” she said, “So as far as school’s reputations, I don’t feel like it overshadows too much.”

Blomfield emphasized that students need to take responsibility for their own photos when they post them on social media sites. “Whatever you post on Facebook … it can be taken off the Internet and put anywhere.

So students have to keep that in mind when they post things.”

Even innocent photos have been targeted on the site. Users have posted casual shots of students and accompanied them with captions attacking their appearances, lifestyles and social activities.

“The way it’s going right now, it looks like it’s bordering on cyber-bullying,” Emanuel said. “This semester at school has been so focused and plagued by all these stories about bullying and cyber-bullying.”

Blomfield agreed that the written attacks on the website were the most worrisome aspect. “In an age where it’s so easy to be engaged in cyber-bullying, it’s the last thing parents and students would be wanting to see.”

In a statement issued by Derek Paul, a media relations representative for Room110, the site was described as a “fun, free environment … Students know this is just a fun environment and would not set out to hurt anyone’s feelings.”

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