MG Michael and I have long written about the links between the misuse of social media and youth suicide. We hope that increasingly academics take up the call for research into this very important domain. The digital era we live in has incredible benefits but we cannot ignore the downsides.

Courtesy: Queensland Police Service

Courtesy: Queensland Police Service

For example: M.G. Michael and Katina Michael. "The Fall-Out from Emerging Technologies: on Matters of Surveillance, Social Networks and Suicide" IEEE Technology and Society Magazine 30.3 (2011): 15-18. Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kmichael/236  

MG has a professional counsellors qualification with a major in abuse and abuse counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors while I have spoken to enough high school counsellors and mothers to understand the silent epidemic that has and continues to impact our youth. Time and time again, I hear of the major problems surrounding the misuse of Facebook and other social media applications by 13+ years old (especially by young girls).

I know, I know... some of you out there think the police have the wrong strategy in building awareness, that schools go over the top with their policies of what their students can and cannot do online, but while the rhetoric surrounding "let kids explore and they will learn by trial and error" sounds great, some of them just won't make it...  

We aren't about to go back into an era of no social media, but what can we do as a society to make sure teenagers and children do not become just another "cost of doing business"... these are real lives we are talking about, not just some piece of hardware that is carrying a virus that you can throw away and replace with a brand new model... 

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