Sunday Star-Times

MP in trouble over online messages to teenage girls


Concerned parents have complained about an MP messaging their teenage daughters through the social media app Snapchat.

National’s Hutt South MP Chris Bishop was confronted before the election by a mother upset at the older man messaging her daughter and other minors.

Witnesses confirmed the incident to the Sunday Star-Times and said Bishop was taken aside and asked to stop what he was doing.

‘‘I wanted to confront him as many parents felt very uncomforta­ble that their children were messaged,’’ said a mother who wanted to remain anonymous.

‘‘He admitted it straight away and thanked me for bringing it to his attention.’’

Another mother, whose 13-year-old daughter was allegedly in daily contact with Bishop for a week or two on SnapChat, took to Facebook to vent her frustratio­n.

The mother, who also wanted to remain anonymous, allegedly wrote to MP Paul Goldsmith to complain about Bishop’s behaviour.

None of the parents were concerned that Bishop’s intentions were anything other than misguided.

Bishop refused to comment on the matter when approached for comment.

But this scenario is not uncommon as a lot of people in positions of authority are warned about what is appropriat­e and not appropriat­e in terms of using social media to contact teenagers.

Social media consultant Jef Kay said that schools, for example, normally have their own platforms to contact students. His advice is that anyone wanting to contact students should use the school’s platform rather than Facebook.

It would be ‘‘quite unwise’’ for a teacher to use Facebook or SnapChat to

I wanted to confront him as so many parents felt very uncomforta­ble. Mother

contact individual pupils as it can so easily spiral out of control.

Once a situation gets out of control, it is very hard to recover from a mistake, and with Facebook, there is a permanent record.

Bishop was elected to Parliament in 2014 and has made regular appearance­s on breakfast television.

 ??  ?? Chris Bishop is National MP for Hutt South and a former Young Wellington­ian of the Year.
Chris Bishop is National MP for Hutt South and a former Young Wellington­ian of the Year.

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