Perils of parties and Facebook

COFFS Coast parents dealing with out-of-control teenage parties finally have somewhere to turn for advice.

A Surviving Teenage Parties fact sheet developed by Community Services educates parents about what happens when social media technologies become involved in youth gatherings.

However, the department stressed the tips were not designed to take the fun out of parties.

Coffs Harbour Detective Sergeant Chris Clarke said anyone throwing a party should avoid putting details on Facebook, as the party then becomes an easy target for trouble-makers.

“Facebook and social media are a blight on society when used improperly,” Det Sgt Clarke said.

“For parents trying to put on a party with restrictions, their good intentions can be usurped by people with no regard for authority.”

He said some people use social networking to create a crowd and intimidate party-goers.

“I have experienced a number of parties both in Coffs Harbour and in western NSW where uninvited people are hiding in the dark and hanging around looking for another place to drink and access free alcohol,” he said.

Det Sgt Clarke said an effective way to control gate-crashing was to provide details of the party to police prior to the event.

By providing information on the party’s location, number of guests, security set-up and contact details of the party supervisor, police can more easily respond if anything goes wayward.

In addition, he said parents needed to understand their ability to exercise control was diminished by consumption of alcohol.

“If a parent takes on the responsibility of supervising a party, they need to make sure they are capable of doing so,” he said.

“There needs to be someone who is in control, staunch in their resolve over who should and should not be there and can immediately identify uninvited guests.”

Minister for Community Services Linda Burney said parties could be a huge stress for parents who have uninvited guests knocking at their door.

“What is meant to be a small party can easily escalate into something much bigger and become difficult to control when social networking is involved,” Ms Burney said.

“Parents must draw the line when it comes to uninvited guests – a ‘no invite, no admission’ rule makes it easier to control a party.

“Teenagers should also be warned about the dangers of posting details of their party on social networking sites.

If they want to use Facebook to invite people, make sure that the event they create is ‘closed/private’ and they are the only ones who can invite guests.”

 

HELPFUL HINTS FOR A PEACEFUL PARTY

Before the party

• agree on how many friends they can invite;

• be clear about what time the party should end;

• be careful about invites on Facebook and other social networking sites;

• decide on the venue – if it’s in your home, will there be any rooms or areas that are “off limits” to the guests;

• give your neighbours plenty of notice about the party – they are more likely to be understanding if they have been forewarned;

• let local police know about the party, so they know there are adults present;

• put all valuables and breakables in a safe place, and;

• invite adult friends of family members to the party to bolster the adult presence and offer you support during the party.

 

During the party

• Although you don’t want to be too intrusive, supervision is crucial so make sure you are in a position to know what’s going on at all times;

• Remember it is illegal to serve alcohol to under 18s.

Although some of the guests may be 18 or older, it is easier to ban alcohol than try to monitor what each person is drinking;

• Make it clear drugs will not be tolerated;

• Be strict and consistent about not admitting uninvited people, and;

• Provide plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks.

 

The after the party

• A party provides a good chance to teach teenagers responsibility, if they host a party, they should be responsible for helping to clean up afterwards.

Visit www.community.nsw.gov.au to find the teenage parties factsheet.

Full address: http://www.community.nsw.gov.au/DOCSWR/_assets/main/documents/parparty.pdf



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