A Harrogate Fixer wants to warn ‘internet fame’ obsessed teenagers of the potential dangers that exist online.
17-year-old Jade Weatherill is part of a group of Fixers who believe teenagers are not internet savvy when it comes to the information and images they release on social media sites.
They think some young people – as young as 12 – are actively looking for internet fame by using sexually explicit language and posting naked and semi-naked images of themselves, or ‘sexting’, to gain attention.
Highlighting her concerns, Jade is creating a viral advert aimed at 13 to 17-year-olds explaining the possible pitfalls of social networking sites, which include cyber-bullying.
‘There seems to be a lot of pornography on social media sites that young people are putting up themselves,’ explains Jade.
‘I think many young people enjoy the attention - whether it’s good attention or bad attention. It’s an issue that needs to be targeted - it’s new and it’s happening now.’
The broadcast piece also includes the story of ‘Pauline’, a teenaged girl who was secretly photographed naked by a friend, who then uploaded the image to Facebook. After the image went viral, ‘Pauline’ did not leave her house for 4 months and eventually dropped out of Sixth Form prematurely.
Dr Dan Laughey of Leeds Metrpolitan University, an expert on the issue, also appears in the piece and explains that social media fame does give some young people a false sense of celebrity, but many forget that the images and messages they post can be seen by the general public.
‘I think young people often believe that what they do is private and locked in, but it is very much available for people to see, they’ve left their digital footprint and anyone can trace it.’