Parents need social media schooling

SCHOOL authorities have called for more work to be done educating parents and adults about acceptable behaviour on social media.

That comes after a Border Facebook page “naming and shaming” young people for their alleged promiscuity got more than 3000 “likes”.

Regional director for schools in the Riverina Colin Parker said schools were doing all they could to encourage responsible use of the internet.

He said it was time for a major community education campaign, similar to anti-smoking or road safety messages.

“It’s an aspect of community health,” he said.

Mr Parker’s comments follow the appearance of a Border-based Facebook “shame” page that urged people to “name and shame” Albury-Wodonga youth for their alleged promiscuity.

As its administrations brazenly flouted federal laws on harassment, the page clocked up thousands of likes before it was closed down amid a flood of community condemnation.

When asked why some young people seemed to continue to bully and harass others through social media, Mr Parker said it was like road rules — that is, these often had to be repeated before the message got through.

He said the issue that cropped up again and again in schools in the Riverina was students taking to Facebook or other social media to make comments they would have never have made face-to-face.

But he said incidents had decreased as teachers addressed the issues across a range of subjects, including ethics, English, legal studies and physical education.

Education Department North East region spokeswoman Sharon Hensgen-Smith said schools in Victoria were encouraged to take part in the eSmart initiate.

She said a big problem with technology was that a small group of people could cause a lot of trouble.

“I think in general people are pretty smart and savvy about technology,” she said.

“Unfortunately you get small groups of people that have maximum impact.”