London, Dec 22 (ANI): LittleGossip.com, a website that allows students to spread malicious rumours about fellow pupils' looks, sex lives and drug habits, has become a big hit in Britain.
The website encourages schoolchildren to write anonymous gossip about their peers, which is then rated as 'true' or 'false' by other users of the site.
And it appears to be a big hit with pupils from the supposedly more illustrious institutions, with students from Eton, St Paul's, Harrow, being the most enthusiastic users.
The comments the pupils leave on the website are obscene and even homophobic or threatening, and 10 percent of the posts are reported by users for deletion.
It has infuriated parents and head teachers that their pupils are so freely allowed to spread hurtful rumours about each other.
"What chills me is the viciousness of these unmoderated and anonymous posts," the Daily Mail quoted Charlotte Macleod, a mother of four children at The Harrodian School, in Barnes, South West London, as saying.
"My 15-year-old daughter's friends are being mocked, sneered at and goaded. True or false, these personal and sexual taunts are universally available online," she stated.
Teachers at James Allen's Girls' School in Dulwich, South East London, were alerted to the site by a parent, and they have since banned students from using it.
"I'm just so angry that this vehicle for cyber-bullying exists. I can't imagine what kind of person wants to set up a site like this. It must be some kind of sick person," the school's head teacher Marion Gibbs stated.
The site has also been slammed by the National Union of Teachers, who accuse the site's creators of creating a 'vehicle for cyber-bullying'.
LittleGossip.com was created by web developers in Belize, Central America, but pupils from around the world can select which country they live in and which school they attend - so peers can easily see the relevant messages.
The site was launched in the UK in November and its popularity increased as teenagers spread word of it via other social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Under pressure from schools, report buttons were added next to posts so that users can hide offensive content.
The site is officially now supposed to be accessed only by adults, although its safeguards can be bypassed very easily.
LittleGossip claims the site was launched "to encourage deep, meaningful conversation".
"A major aim for us is we want to eradicate the hurtful and offensive gossip that is posted by individuals completely and give our users more moderation over content submitted," a spokesman added. (ANI)