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Experts discuss social media dangers for girls

Experts discuss social media dangers for girls
"Some girls are sending 100 texts each night, when their parents are asleep."

Have you heard the story about the teenage girl who sends 100 text messages a night when her parents are asleep?

It won’t be a surprise to some who have looked closely at the effects social media is having on teenage girls.

Experts Madonna King, Dr Lee-Anne Perry AM and Rebecca Sparrow discussed the topic last Sunday for Brisbane’s Mothers of Only Girls group.

Ms King, a prominent journalist and author, is writing a book called Being 14, in which she talks to 200 girls aged 14 about the challenges they face.

“Some of my findings really stopped me in my tracks,” she said.

“Like some girls are sending 100 texts each night, when their parents are asleep.

“Or if your child has 650 friends on one social media app and those people all have 500 friends, conceivably 325,000 people can have contact with your child.

“Police tell me they are constantly in contact with parents pleading with them to take down a photograph of their daughter, on a website overseas. They can’t. It’s not possible.”

Like Ms King, Rebecca Sparrow is an acclaimed author whose books include Find Your Tribe and its companion Find Your Feet, look at the challenges that face teenagers.

Ms Sparrow told the packed audience about the importance of girls “finding their tribe” – those who would back them.

Dr Perry was the principal of All Hallows’ School from 1999 to 2015 before moving into the role as executive director of the Queensland Catholic Education Commission. She spoke of the importance of articulating and encouraging values.

While researching Being 14, which will be released early next year, Ms King said she had spoken with girls who believed their parents were putting undue pressure on their daughters to perform at school.

“The experts call it Expectation Inflation,” Ms King said.

“Their parents went to university so they expect their children to automatically do that, and more. Some of these kids, who miss out on an A, are now calling Kids Helpline, scared to tell their parents.”

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