'Rhinelander Confessions' gets community buzzingSubmitted: 03/27/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

RHINELANDER - Millions of people share their deepest desires and darkest secrets... on the internet. And it seems like people are sharing more and more personal information every day.

There's a new local Facebook page that's causing debate.

Rhinelander Confessions is part of the latest Facebook trend. Someone from a town or school starts up a community page. Anyone can post anonymously a statement that's supposed to be a "confession".

Some of the postings are funny, a few are sweet, some are not so sweet, and some are downright disturbing. Who knows if any of it's true, but the point seems to be that anyone can say anything about the place the page is dedicated to and the people who live there.

Rumor has it high school students started the page. We asked our Facebook friends what they thought about the page. Some people thought it was all in good fun.

But the majority of our responders, most of them adults, thought the page was just another avenue for things like bullying and sexual harassment.

"I've seen a lot of 'so and so is hot' and 'I would have sex with so and so'," says Jayla Paulson, a RHS Junior.

Some girls actually respond to posts like that about them with amusement.

"I don't see that as being ok. I don't understand why you would want yourself to be exploited like that," says Paulson.

The internet is a gray area when it comes to freedom of speech. We know you can't threaten other people... but what about something like sexual harassment?

"You can't do anything that's going to raise alarm in somebody. Because that would be considered disorderly conduct," says Amanda Young, from the Rhinelander Police Department.

The same rules about verbal harassment apply on the internet. If it happens to you, print the conversation and take it to the police department.

But if you're one of the girls publicly encouraging derogatory comments made about you, you should know it will make things difficult for police if you later feel harassed.

"It's harder to make a determination whether or not it's harassment or if it was actually encouraged," says Young.

A thin line with potentially negative results.

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Call John Breiten at 715-686-7570 for more info.

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