Nearly laughed out loud when I saw this one in a local cafe:

Girls used Facebook to call for help

by Amy Noonan, Police Reporter on News.com.au

TWO girls used the social networking site Facebook to call for help after getting stuck in a southern suburbs drain.

It’s believed the girls, aged 10 and 12, became trapped in the Honeypot Rd drain, on the border of Hackham West and Noarlunga Downs, after walking around drains in the area sometime before 7.30pm.

It’s believed they used a mobile phone to update their status.

Metropolitan Fire Service Crews used a ladder to assist the girls in climbing to safety.

Ambulance crews were on the scene but the girls were not injured and did not require treatment.

Walking through drains is known as “urban exploring” or “urban caving”, and has a popular sub-culture in many major cities, including Adelaide.

One group is known as “Cave Clan”.

However, flash flooding is a danger for drain dwellers – last year a man, 25, and a woman, 21, drowned after the Sydney drain they were spraying with graffiti flooded last year.

A third person survived by squeezing through bars and washing out to sea.

Why did I have a chuckle? Well, they had a mobile PHONE. One that can speed dial mum, big brother, a teacher, the Police, Ambulance, Hospitals. Remember 000? 911 in the US? 999 (I think) in Britain?  Yet they chose to use it to update their Facebook status. I’ll go into why in a moment.

Also … I know Honeypot Rd in South Australia. When I was a wee lass I had a horse over there. Sam’s riding school was on Honeypot. It’s all suburbs now of course. But I think I remember a drain over that way.

Back to the kids.

Facebook_side

Social Network = Social Help

When you were a kid and fell over and your friends were around you, how many said “you should go home and see your mum”? Not one. That was the dreaded end to festivities. Nothing short of bones sticking out of wounds would convince any of us to get help from a grownup.

Plus, if you tell an adult, they make a fuss. So its’ the usual bind – if kids don’t tell an adult they have to figure out what to do themselves. And if they do tell an adult, they lose control on the situation. Enter the social network. Now you can abdicate decision making while not abdicating control. “help, I’m stuck in a drain, what should I do?” offers social search in times of stress without the final OMG-we-are-in-so-much-trouble repercussions of formally informing an adult that y’know, we were playing in the drain. Yes that drain. Yes, the one that we were specifically told not to go near. Yes we guess we’ve learned our lesson now. Yep we understand there will be no Playstation for 2 weeks. But nooo don’t take away our Facebook access… we need that for the next time we fall down a drain!!!!

Kids…. tsk tsk

Incredibly important today is understanding how social networking protects our children. There is stuff they can’t tell a parent or a teacher or the police but they can’t bottle up any more. So they tell their friends, they tell people they play online games with, they write anonymously on websites full of emo-angst and they tell forum moderators and game GMs, who understand and ‘get them’. Expect to see lots more “we should’ve seen it coming” from adults waking up to teens pushing out warnings on online communities. It keeps them safe in the absence of an understanding adult.