Posts Tagged ‘social media’

On July 11, a 13 year old girl called Molly Lord was killed in a quad bike accident in Kembla Grange. But it was not this freak accident that caused the media storm to follow; in one of the most proactive and controversial campaigns against media intrusion, the Molly’s Law movement has triggered a public outcry in the bid to protect grieving and distressed families against death knocks.

Young Molly Lord was an accomplished equestrienne, tragically killed in a farm accident on July 11, 2012

The Illawarra Mercury, and Channel 7 are the guilty parties that initiated this movement. In the most devastating and emotional time a parent could face, freshly grieving the death of their beloved child, their situation was escalated and privacy violated by media agencies in the defence of ‘public interest’.

Goldspink-Lord was filmed by a channel 7 helicopter besides her dead daughter, and in a separate incident when consoling herself by visiting her daughters horse, had a reporter enter her house, trespassing and snooping for the Illawarra Mercury.

‘I went outside at some point to go to her horse for some comfort when the channel 7 helicopter flew above me … footage of myself sitting with my deceased daughter was put on the channel 7 website for the world to see before I had even told all my family.’
— Channel Seven, News, Facebook page, 21st July, 2012

Goldspink-Lord’s comment on Channel 7’s wall received great support, however was removed by the television station when they removed the offending video.

Lords father was overseas at the time, and was contacted for comment by these agencies. The family implored the press not to publicise the death, declined comment in a bid to have the opportunity to contact those close family and friends who had not known about the accident, but this right was denied when in minutes footage was aired on Channel 7 showing the grieving mother with her child, and a front cover on the Illawarra Mercury describing with text and image the death.

An outraged Goldspink-Lord retaliated, posting with her full name on both agencies articles her plight of intrusion, supported by thousands of comments outraged over the families treatment. A Facebook page, now supported by over 7000 fans, further publicised her plight.

‘I am the mother of the beautiful Molly Lord who was killed on a quad bike last week. I would just like to let everyone know of the pain and harassment we suffered as a result of channel 7…’ Channel Seven News, Facebook page, 21st July, 2012

The Facebook page established to support Molly’s Law, and the efforts of the Lord family in their plight.

Beyond just press coverage, bloggers including Woolly Days, WA TODAY, Crikey, FOI PRIVACY, Mumbrella and many others, have also commented and discussed this incident on many occasions, seeking an interactive medium to give consumer power back to those from media entities.

The power of social media has been clarified, with the medium providing an opportunity for the family to seek the answers they want, and are moving with legal representation to not only seek justice, but demand fairness in grieving for the protection of families in similar circumstances.

Mollys Law from Elia Lom on Vimeo.

Molly’s Law

-Elia Lom


Sexting has now become more common among teenagers than previously thought.

Statistics from a survey conducted by Tru-Insight, a global leader in research on tweens, teens and 20-somethings, have found shocking results in that 21 per cent of teen girls and 18 per cent of teen boys have sent or posted nude or semi-nude images of themselves.

Sexting also appears to be on the increase, a submission prepared by Australian charity The Salvation Army reveals that more than a third of under 18s in Australia have received a sexual text or image via their mobile or computer.

As more teenagers are using their mobiles and computers to communicate sexually, the concerns of parents and adults involved are rising.

Hugh Stevens, a member of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner’s Youth Advisory Group, believes the growing number of adolescents sexting is due to their lack of knowledge of the circumstances,

“Sexting is a phenomenon where this communication has significant negative consequences, often beyond the thoughts of young people involved.”

The consequences leading to humiliation, harassment and bullying can be detrimental and life threatening to a teenagers health and well-being.

But high school student, Stephanie Tate, 17, thinks otherwise and believes that people concerned are over-dramatizing the issue and that teenagers are actually more aware of the matter than people think they are,

“Of course we understand and are fully aware of the consequences. Teenagers are smart enough to know that once something is sent you can’t get it back. Friends my age may send a text that could be sexual, but not a picture. I think parents forget that teenagers are growing into adults and are in an important stage of exploring their sexuality. But if we have gone too far, it’s a mistake that we must learn from.”


It’s the popularity and demand of new communication technologies that play an increasingly important role in the lives of the young, especially adolescents. The easy access to these devices coupled with the freedom of the social media and the internet create an open door for kids to be influenced by and act upon the provocative and sexual nature of what they see on screen.

Assistant Vice-Principal of the Alice Smith School, Tobin Connell, believes part of the media contributes to creating the normalization of this behavior of exchange to teenagers,

“What we see in the cinemas, and what is so easily obtained on the internet has no regulation, and it’s very, very difficult to try and keep ahead of that kind of game. The normalization of the, ‘Yeah, well everybody does it’ is a very, very scary concept, especially in educational circles because students aren’t mentally prepared enough to deal with the issues that are coming their way.”

Donald Strassberg, professor of psychology at the University of Utah states that, “These results argue for educational efforts such as cell phone safety assemblies, awareness days, integration into class curriculum and teacher training, designed to raise awareness about the potential consequences of sexting among young people.”

If you are a concerned parent or someone who is receiving uncomfortable messages, there are many helpful websites you can go to for support and information:

Every year 65,000 Australians attempt to commit suicide; 2,500 are successful. Worldwide one million people take their own lives annually; that is more lives lost to suicide than to war and homicide combined. It is statistics such as these that signal the global need for change when approaching the issue of suicide.

September’s World Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK? Day promote such a change by encouraging people to openly speak about the taboo subject. Each day aims to not only raise awareness and funds to prevent suicide, but to also let those affected by or considering suicide know they are not alone.

Lifeline’s Out of the Shadows hosted a walk at St Kilda’s Catani Gardens on September 9, 2012 to mark World Suicide Prevention Day and promote these vital ideas. The core message for the day was fitting; ‘It’s okay to talk about suicide’.

“I think the slogan that we’ve got this year; ‘It’s okay to talk about suicide’, is very important,” Louise Flynn, Support After Suicide’s Manager, said. “There are unsafe ways to talk about suicide, but there are also safe and responsible ways and we need to talk about it.”

This message comes not long after the public breakdown of 46-year-old celebrity Charlotte Dawson. Dawson was repeatedly verbally abused and told to kill herself by internet trolls via the social network site Twitter. In the end, that is exactly what she attempted to do.

Sadly Dawson is merely a drop in the ocean when it comes to cyber-bullying with Microsoft’s 2008 research finding that one in four children reported to having been bullied online.

The development of technology and the growing popularity of social media have provided tormentors with additional outlets of abuse where, apparently, there are little to no consequences. What many cyber-bullies do not realise, however, is the severity of their actions.

In recent years suicide has climbed to the highest cause of death amongst men under the age of 44 and women under the age of 34. Bulling is a large contributor to this statistic.

“Every one of us has the power to lift someone up or to put them down, even in small ways that we may not realise,” founder of suicide support foundation Life Is…, Tony Gee, said. “I suggest that we all be thoughtful in our ways and walk with compassion and with care.”

Those whom operate Lifeline’s suicide hotline demonstrate the importance of being compassionate and caring. Each year 700,000 calls are placed to Melbourne’s Lifeline where 320 volunteers operate the phones day in and day out. Each volunteer aims to alleviate the callers stress and help them through their crisis.

“Our goal and, I guess our reason for living is our cause; people in crisis, people who are in danger of going down this (suicidal) road,” Terry Keating, Melbourne’s Lifeline Manager, said. “Hopefully we can change that.”

If you or someone you know is showing signs of suicide, whether it be withdrawing from friends and family, giving away possessions or talking about ‘ending it’, assistance is available. Please contact Lifeline’s 24 hour helpline on 13 11 14, Kids Help Line (5-25yrs) on 1800 55 1800 or Mensline on 1300 789 978.

If you or someone you know is in need of support following a suicide, contact Support After Suicide on (03) 9421 7640 or visit for more information.

With the release of the iPhone 5 the battle between iPhone and Android has once again reignited. Getting their hands on this latest device has created a massive buzz in the world of technology. Try ringing Optus, Telstra or other mobile communication companies and you will find out that they already have allocated a new department handling all iPhone 5 orders. On the other hand, team Android has not backed down one single bit. When the iPhone 4s was launched, a number of Android handsets entered the market such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 or the HTC One X and are considered as strong competitors.  The following is a poll on what the public prefers conducted through Facebook. As seen below, there is a small discrepancy between the two with Apple leading by just 4 votes.

To get a better grasp of the public opinion on this matter, let’s see what the consumers think.

Karll 23, Cranbourne: ‘I prefer Android because it’s still not as common as the iPhone. I like its uniqueness and the features of my current Samsung Galaxy s3 is simply better than iPhone4s!’

Elaine 29, Clarinda: ‘Definitely iPhone. It’s very user friendly and basically all of my friends have it so it allows us to make communication easier plus we can use FaceTime on one another’.

Those who are in favour of Androids contend that the iPhone is one item. Its technology lasts for one iteration and then the next evolution comes out; whereas with Android, the numbers of handsets that use the software number in the range of twenty to thirty per generation. Because the release of a new iPhone means that the iPhone itself is obsolete within a few months, the constant output of Android devices means that they can always stay slightly ahead of the curve where new innovation is concerned. On the contrary, iPhone fanatics are simply loyal to iPhones because of its user-friendliness and the thought that the majority has one. This allows them to install several apps that they can utilise together whether it is for the purpose of communication or games.

To further broaden our knowledge, let’s see what a sales consultant from a mobile company recommends to their customers.

Due to the many factors to consider which one is better, it is difficult to draw a conclusion. The battle between the iPhone and the Android then continues.


By Kate O’Hara

Pop quiz: what did the 2010 federal election and Seinfeld have in common?

You could draw any number of similarities between short-statured men, annoying laughs, close talkers and oddball characters who show up unannounced in your loungeroom each evening, but for OurSay founder and Chief Operating Officer Matthew Gordon, it really comes down to not much at all.

“For us it was clearly a Seinfeld election – a show about nothing,” he says.

“Political and media engagement was in the order of the lowest common denominator. It’s not surprising that the Australian community didn’t choose a government in the end, and just left Gillard and the others to work it out.”

Spurred into action even before the campaigning machine cranked into gear, Gordon and a group of keen young entrepreneurs established OurSay, an organisation intent on improving political engagement and community interaction through social media.

With just two years under its belt, OurSay has already carved a small but significant niche as a player on Australia’s political scene, hosting around 25 forums including the first ever Hangout with the Prime Minister.

In its latest partnership effort with the University of Melbourne and Fairfax Media, OurSay recently launched the Citizens’ Agenda, a collaborative crowd-sourcing project which aims to connect with voting communities around Australia and analyse the impact of that engagement. Gordon says it will sort out what issues really matter.

“We thought rather than just having a leaders’ debate like Gillard and Abbott did during the last election, why don’t all candidates have a debate?” he says.

“Using the OurSay methodology, people will post and vote for questions. Those top rating questions will be debated in the community forum, down at the local RSL or town hall. We want to see whether the terms are debated on issues the community has raised compared to the issues the political parties raise through polling and focus groups.”

Researchers and academics from the University’s Centre for Public Policy and Centre for Advanced Journalism will analyse the Citizens’ Agenda as it gets underway in the coming months.

“The advantage of this sort of project is that you’ve got six brilliant minds looking at your product and testing whether it’s going to make a difference or not,” Gordon says.

“Have we changed or increased the level of political engagement in the election? Who’s included and not included? What’s the content analysis of media? Did the headlines change based on what we were able to achieve? The last election was a farce, let’s make this one about something.”

Gordon’s not the only one disenchanted with the direction of political activity and media reporting in Australia. Dr Margaret Simons, founding director of the Centre for Advanced Journalism and industry expert has high hopes for the Citizens’ Agenda and its impact on the country’s “dull political reporting”.

She says politicians are becoming so managed by public relations teams that we barely see any real policy debates these days.

Dr Margaret Simons. Image: supplied

“Instead, we’re seeing a lot of personality-based politics, a sort of presidential system where it seems to be more about the leader than the policies. It’s a shame – it leads to a less informed electorate.

“For a long time I’ve been following the ideas of people like Jay Rosen and Jeff Jarvis and key scholars on journalism futures which I find very compelling – optimistic – but very compelling. Rosen had the idea that part of the role of media is not only to highlight problems but also to be an engaged citizen in helping a community find answers to problems.

“That idea was over-taken by the internet and his modern iteration was what he calls the Citizens’ Agenda, and that once the agenda has been determined, media should pursue it regardless of what the politicians want to talk about.”

Politics and social media have certainly strengthened ties in the past few years – take Barak Obama’s online savvy and his 19 million Twitter followers for example – but the impact of such engagement has yet to be captured and measured.

Dr Simons, a canny Twitter user and observer of social media happenings herself, is optimistic about the project and its positive impact on political engagement in Australia. She hopes the research findings will inform political media reporting well beyond next year’s federal election.

“I often say that we’re living through an era of innovation, equivalent to that which was caused by the printing press, which led people being able to identify with a nation rather than just their clan or village. It made modern democratic forms possible,” she says.

“Now if I’m right, and we’re living through the equivalent innovation now, we have to expect democracy to change, because democracy has always been, to some extent, technologically determined.

“In both journalism and political science there is a lot of hope that social media can serve to improve civic engagement, perhaps improve politics and perhaps lead to a more connected journalism; we might actually get some coverage of politics as though it matters rather than as spectator sport.”