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Avoid slanderous speech

Priscilla Du Preez

Digitally or physically, gossip appeals to teens seeking acceptance from peers.

Whispers in the hallway spread rumors, lies and half-truths. Fueled by envy, hate and bolstering  self-confidence, teens use gossip to hurt others they dislike. High school students often fabricate stories about someone or spread an intimate secret.

Gossip emphasizes the situations of other people, and envelops individuals in the lives of others. As bullying will always be an issue, gossip remains an unavoidable reality in classrooms and workplaces. According to an article published on the New York Post, individuals continue to gossip well into their adult life.

Pressure and challenges promote gossip in the workplace. A recent article by ABC News states that two thirds of the workforce participates in gossip about their employers. Impending layoffs and budget cuts are often found out about through this workplace gossip before it is officially announced.

A tool for bullies, gossip hurts others and promotes toxic thinking. The unfortunate truth is that gossiping will never cease. Too often students participate in gossip-fueled discussions to get ahead at the cost of their peers.

People seek to climb the social ladder of acceptance through exploiting the flaws of others. Gossips believe that they build credibility and believability by discrediting peers.  

Silva Emerian explores gossip from a Biblical perspective in her Style Session blog No. 16.

Gossiping presents itself as an easy and effective way to connect with peers. While beneficial in the short term, gossipers risk being labeled and develop a reputation for being inconstant and untrustworthy.

Teens develop their sense of identity and purpose from experiences. They explore risk-taking activities like sharing intimate details of people’s lives with little regard or understanding of gossip’s repercussions.

Fun at first, high school students gossip leads to strife and heartbreak between friends, significant others and classmates.

Alternatives exist to gossiping in social settings. Teens gossip to build up a trust with other individuals. Through focusing on the truth and meaningful subjects, students should aspire a different kind of trust: respect.

Mimi Thian

Gossips rise to popularity quickly, but fall from fame just as quickly.

Respected individuals take time to build their credibility by abstaining from slanderous speech and demeaning conversations. Gossips rise to popularity quickly, but fall from fame just as quickly.  

When pressured to share a secret or discuss others private affairs, resist peer pressure. In the short term, an observed shift in social interactions brings criticism. However, overtime a student builds a reputation for good character and ethics.

When the time is right, stand against circulating rumors. Before individuals share details about another person, they must consider the implications of their words: for their personal reputation and the reputation of their subject.

Gossiping is wrong. Campus junior high science and Bible teacher Terry Richards emphasizes the simple phrase, “Don’t do wrong.”

For more editorials, read EDITORIAL: Should ministers be millionaires? For more articles, read Stuffed animal drive to benefit Valley Children’s Hospital.

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