A leading social media expert has urged 'clueless' parents of Irish teenagers to properly educate themselves on working the web in order to protect their children.
After a Project X style party was organised in Cloyne, East Cork over the weekend, which resulted in public order issues and some arrests, one of Ireland's leading social media experts Krishna De said that parents need to build reliable levels of trust with their teens when it comes to monitoring their online use.
Social media sites Facebook and Twitter were the platforms for discussion for teens to make their plans before Saturday night.
“Can see these boys making an appearance in Cloyne tonight,” one person tweeted with an attached photo of a riot squad.
Ms De explained: "I'm a parent of children approaching their teen years, my eldest daughter is 13 and she's friends with a group of classmates who are very active on social.
"It’s a subject that the parents have been invited into the school to discuss, which is really good news.
"And what's quite clear in my experience from talking to other parents is the fact that a lot of parents are just clueless, that's the word they use to describe themselves.
"They'll say in these meetings that they don’t understand social media or feel comfortable using it."
But when it comes to your child's social media use, it's important to build trust with them.
"We have to ask questions like, 'should we be doing things as parents like looking at our children's Facebook pages? That comes back to the relationship we have with our children.
"Teens are different in the developmental stage. For example, things that we're concerned about as adults - the long-term affects of how they behave now in terms of what they say and put on the internet, they're not hardwired to even understand that. It's a developmental thing and if you talk to child psycholgists, they will support that.
"We can’t necessarily protect every phone that they have. If you ask them to look at their Facebook page - how do you know they don't have an alternative profile?
"A lot of it is around building our confidence, in terms of talking about it with our children.
"Try referencing it in conversation. Bringing up something topical in relation to social media and what would you do if...? That’s the kind of conversation i try to have with my daughters, rather than flying off the handle when i hear about things like this party.
"We've seen meet ups like this in the past. Several years ago, it wasn’t just social networks, it was text messaging – it becomes a lot more sinsister when it comes to doing damage though."