Pro – Does Gunn Confessions Encourage Beneficial Discourse?

Charlie Bush, Reporter

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Known by almost every Gunn student, the Gunn Confessions Facebook page is an anonymous forum that allows anyone to post a “confession”—anything from a school crush to a humorous rumor to a genuine question. The page has over 800 followers, with some comments on posts breaking 70 reactions. The page took just one afternoon to completely blow up across Gunn’s campus, and since then over 4,000 confessions have been published. With its talk-of-the-school status and current prominence in Gunn’s culture, Gunn Confessions is obviously a sensation. Because it helps students relieve stress and provides a safe space for students to seek help, the pros of this page greatly outweigh the cons.

Most Gunn students are familiar with the high-stress environment and high-achieving precedents established at school. The American Psychological Association stated that 68 percent of teens surveyed reported to frequently experience extreme levels of stress during the school year. From data reflecting Gunn specifically, the 2017-18 California Healthy Kids Survey at Gunn shows that 12 percent of juniors stated they missed school in the past 30 days because they “felt very sad, hopeless, anxious, stressed, or angry.” This notoriously stressful environment necessitates methods of de-stressing, one being humor.

Humor serves as a method of stress relief as it takes one’s mind off of stressful subjects and relieves tension. According to authors of an American Addiction Centers article relating to stress relief methods, “humor functions as a distraction, interrupting the chain of thought that results in stress.” For those submerged in stress in their daily lives and wanting to relax, Gunn Confessions can be a place to get lost in the posts and comments. Gunn Confessions also allows students to make light of common struggles together and support one another through humor.

Another piece of evidence from the 2017-18 California Healthy Kids Survey at Gunn showed that 14 percent of 11th graders and 10 percent of ninth graders considered suicide in the past 12 months. With students often feeling as if they have nobody to talk to about their mental health concerns, they hide their depressive feelings and feel isolated in their own issues. However, an anonymous online forum serves as a great medium for talking about issues and seeking help. There have been multiple past confessions relating to depression and self-harm, and the genuine support from various students across campus has poured into the comments sections, from phone numbers to hotlines to advice on how to improve their mental health. The anonymity of Gunn Confessions allows apprehensive students to speak up for themselves and allows them to better themselves, letting them see how many of their peers actually care for and support them.

On a lighter note, Gunn Confessions can simply serve as a place to ask questions: students can ask questions about school, colleges, classes and more. People often feel as though asking questions may make them seem ignorant or stupid. Without a name attached, people can ask anything without being scared of how they will be perceived.

Gunn Confessions is a place any student can go to in their free time to alleviate their stress and seek help when they don’t want to speak to anybody face-to-face. Also, new regulations are being enforced by the anonymous page admins, such as no cyber-bullying, hate speech or derogatory comments, meaning there will be no offensive and inappropriate posts found on the page. With these new regulations in place, the page is moving in a direction towards truly helping students, answering their questions and bettering their lives as a whole.