Facebook is scarier than drugs to parents
PARENTS are more concerned about their children’s use of social media and technology than them taking drugs, drinking alcohol or smoking, new research shows.
And cyber-bullying is their biggest fear.
Youth mental health experts said inaction by Facebook and Twitter has caused a national crisis, while top lawyers claim the solution is to regulate social media and reform the law so those injured by online hate can sue.
“These platforms are like the Wild West,” Maurice Blackburn board member Josh Bornstein said. “Children can terrorise other children, people can set up accounts in your name or my name and then spew bile all over the internet, send out neo-Nazi or antiMuslim hate or content in support of ISIS and encourage people to be attacked and the sites have been notoriously slow to act or failed to act at all over a number of years now.
“As soon as Facebook has its first lawsuit from someone injured by cyber bullying or cyber hate, that would have a massive impact.”
Youth mental health service ReachOut believes community safety is under threat due to the negligence of Facebook and others.
ReachOut CEO Jono Nicholas said the social media platforms’ technology had made it too easy for bullies to harass.
“This is a national crisis,” he said. “It is a real issue for every parent raising a teenager now.” New research by ReachOut reveals more than 40 per cent of parents are either extremely worried or very worried about their children’s exposure to social media and technology. Only 25 per cent hold similar fears about alcohol, drugs and smoking.
The results come from an Australia-wide survey of 890 parents with at least one child aged 12-18.
A Facebook spokesman said it would work with ReachOut on addressing concerns. “We constantly listen to feedback and innovate to keep people safe by introducing new features and tools,” he said.
A Twitter spokesman said it had “taken major systemic steps” to improve the platform.