Mums call to protect Gympie teens
UNDERAGE drinking, drug taking and sex with multiple partners appears rife among certain sections of Gympie secondary school students and one Gympie mother is saying enough is enough.
She wants parents to stop turning a blind eye to what’s going on, to monitor their children more closely, paying particular attention to mobile phone text messages and social networking websites and to support other parents as they try and raise teenagers through what is essentially unchartered waters.
“(Gympie) kids are bragging on sites like MySpace and Facebook about how their teachers are stupid enough to let them get away with smoking pot at school”, she said.
“And one disturbing text that my daughter got from a boy at her school is thanking her for the nude photographs of herself.”
The mother of several children, three still at home, said she has taken certain measures to protect her daughter from exposure to these experiences, both “real life” and cyber, that she is clearly not emotionally equipped to deal with.
“I know I’ve done the right thing by her now… she’s safe and that’s my priority.”
She’s not naïve enough to think these problems are not happening elsewhere but if people think there is not a very real problem in Gympie then they are misguided.
She admits she was struggling with control of her daughter.
“My daughter recently went to a party which I had told her she was not allowed to attend… the mother of her friend knew that she was not allowed to go but arranged to pick her up at a local shop and also picked up another girl, buying alcohol for the girls.
“She justified this by saying that she only bought it for her daughter and the other girl (all underage) and that my daughter should not have had any if she was not allowed to drink.
“This mother was quick to blame the wrong doing on my daughter and told me where my daughter hides her bong…
“...She knows I am very against drug taking and I don’t drink – but she had this information about my daughter and chose not to advise me of it until now.”
This confronting “red flag” was enough for her to check all her daughter’s text messages and online posts.
“I hated going through her messages and things like that… I’ve never intruded before but I had to do it.”
What she discovered was, she said, “dangerous and offensive”.
“They’re just doing and saying ridiculous things without thinking about it.
"When I was closing her eBuddy account the chat box opened up and she was getting … (lewd) messages from a 22-year-old in the United Kingdom.”
The woman is urging other Gympie parents to closely monitor their young teens use of the internet and personal associations.
“We all need to take the time to educate and nurture not just our children but all children,” she said.
Tips for Facebook:
- Select the most private settings available;
- Set your photo albums so that only friends can see them;
- Don’t post anything on your wall you don’t want lots of people to see;
- Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know;
- Use an unusual password;
- Don’t leave your account logged in.