A psychologist has revealed who is most at risk from misinformation and predators on social media.
A psychologist has revealed who is most at risk from misinformation and predators on social media.

Who is most at risk from social media

AS THREE out of four Australians think tech giants should do more to remove harmful material from their platforms, a Far Northern psychologist has warned teens are at risk from misinformation and predators on social media.

Pat Woodcock of Mareeba said teens were vulnerable as they sought relationships away from their immediate family.

"Teen goals are to make connections with other people and move from family to people of their own age," Ms Woodock said. "However, whether these people they connect with are actually their age, we don't know. One of the dangers is paedophilia.

"It is quite possible that they don't understand that what they put on a platform can be seen by everybody; I know kids who have gotten themselves into strife because of it."

Ms Woodcock said teens, and adults, using social media were vulnerable to misinformation.

"If it is in print, it is perceived as valid," she said. "For the kids and people who have limited understanding, they think it is real and valid."

 

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An eSafety Commission study of 3700 people showed Australians were still concerned about their privacy on social networks, and demanded action on age restrictions, fraud, and misleading information being spread on digital platforms.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said the research proved tech giants needed to take urgent action to reduce safety risks and protect their users rather than relying on cyber safety to play "a virtual game of whack-a-mole" to mop up their problems.

The warnings come a week after a violent suicide video went viral on digital platforms, and as experts questioned Google's newest argument against draft regulations in Australia.

The eSafety Commission report found 75 per cent of Australian adults thought tech giants should take responsibility for the online safety of their users, and fewer than one in four respondents felt they were doing enough to address problems.

Most supported scanning digital platforms for child sexual abuse images, introducing age restrictions on content, and automatically flagging inappropriate language, and expressed concern about scams, cyber-bullying, and image-based abuse, as well as unreliable and misleading information spreading on social media.

Originally published as Psychologist speaks out: Who is most at risk from social media


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