Information is a great resource. Students can learn a variety of new skills, keep up to date with current events, and form connections between one another. With advances in communication technology, such as the smartphone and tablet, sharing information has never been easier.
However, as the stories of individuals and their fellow peers become increasingly accessible, students are met with a greater responsibility in controlling what they share and how they present it.
Gossip has always been a way of keeping up to date with events. It can present itself in many forms, from small talk among friends to full conversations between large groups.
Furthermore, “tea” has become a widely used slang to describe hot gossip with phrases such as, “spilling the tea.” This tea culture exchanges personal information from other people for short-term attention.
Speculations and revelations made through these various exchanges can initially come off as exciting or entertaining; however, there are certainly many boundaries in place that individuals should learn to identify and recognize so that these borders are not crossed.
Gossip has a tendancy to present all speculations as completely factual when in reality, there is typically no confirmation with the subject or people involved in the topic of discussion. Knowing this, students should think about what has been shared before reaching any conclusions.
When the conversation centers around someone’s private life, criticizing them, or when the information is harmful to their reputation, that is when gossip can become a gateway to bullying.
It is better to leave most personal matters for an individual to resolve, rather than escalate a situation that could otherwise be easily fixed.
The compounding speed at which rumours spread can make a small issue swell up to worrying levels.
For conversations that seem to head in a bad direction, disengaging or changing the subject helps to keep discussions respectful as well as keep the school community safe.
Gossip is not something that can always be escaped, but it is something that students can control.
There are many who become victims of harassment from nasty rumours; however, they are not the only who ones who are affected by the negative impacts of spilling tea.
Studies, such as a report in 2011 from the University of Baltimore, show that those who regularly gossip, both positively and negatively, are more often associated with negative feelings and traits like distrust and disapproval by friends and strangers alike.
Some level of responsibility is needed when sharing information about others. That responsibility extends out to the listeners, who help question and verify informational authenticity, impact, and relevance.
The long term effects of tea culture result in deficient character developement, hurt feelings, and distrust. Following any controversy as a result of spilt tea, the spillers will usually be left to clean up their own mess.
At its very core, gossip is what shapes how students perceive their peers, how they see their community, and their outlook on life.
In the end, most kinds of gossip do more harm than good. It is a temporary feeling of fulfillment that tends to divide many more people than it can bring together.