Skip to comments.Facebook rescue highlights 'ongoing struggle'
Posted on 09/08/2009 5:34:56 PM PDT by myknowledge
An academic says public education campaigns need a rethink after two girls used Facebook to alert people that they were stuck down a stormwater drain.
The 10 and 12-year-old girls updated a Facebook status to say they were lost in an Adelaide drain, and a young friend called for help on their behalf.
Glenn Benham from the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) says it is concerning the girls raised the alert on the social networking site instead of calling 000.
"If they were able to access Facebook from their mobile phones they could have called 000, so the point being they could have called us directly and we could have got there quicker than relying on someone being online and replying to them and eventually having to call us via 000 anyway," he said.
Professor of Media and Communications at the Queensland University of Technology, Terry Flew, says public education campaigns are facing an ongoing struggle to compete with social media.
"I'm sure they [the girls] would have had information provided to them in their schools about who to contact in an emergency, but as we know many things that are learnt in school can go in one ear and out the other," he said.
"For these kids, by the sounds of it, being on Facebook is just such a pervasive part of their lives that it seems the first line of response if they need to communicate a message to others.
"I guess for these people the natural way to send a message out to their friends and others is via Facebook, unfortunately in this case the message was that they were stuck in a stormwater drain."
He warns that presents a real challenge for public education authorities to get their message across.
"Clearly it's not good enough to say 'well they should have rung emergency services', the point is that they didn't, and we need to think about why that's the case and what strategies can be used in the future," he said.
"It suggests that for teenagers social media is increasingly filling the space that was once filled by the telephone, which is fine except on occasions like this when they're not going to be able to contact emergency services using Facebook."
Professor Flew says as social media is such a pervasive part of young people's lives, parents also need to educate their children on what they should do during an emergency.
"Obviously we would also have to point out here that it's the ongoing role of parents to keep reiterating those messages and possibly the parents need to spend more time with children, just talking though some of those issues," he said.
Sending an SOS message through Facebook? This social networking site has saved the lives of two drain rat girls. What a heroic feat for cyberspace.
How does one get stuck in a drain? I’m not familiar with this phenominon. Is it just as stupid as petitioning Facebook friends for help instead of calling 911?
There was something similar with people chatting on IRC, one of the people suddenly couldn’t breathe and asked for help.
The girls are drain rats, and 000 is the Australian national emergency call number, equivalent to 911. It’s very easy to remember.
What a heroic feat for cyberspace.
Hw do u spel 000 when ur texting?
Yeah, they were prolly giving status reports on their city spelunking when OMG we can’t get out of here!
Kids explore the storm water drains all the time. Occasionally, they get themselves in trouble doing it.
Is it possible they didn’t have enough signal strength for a voice call but the data connection worked? I know that’s often the case for my phone. I can send text messages when I cannot get a voice signal.
If you call our local 911, you get put on hold. lol Facebook is probably faster.