Mum alarmed by Insta attacks

Danielle RaffaeleNorth West Telegraph
Mum Jodi De Haan is shocked by the dark side of social media.
Camera IconMum Jodi De Haan is shocked by the dark side of social media. Credit: Danielle Raffaele/North West Telegraph/Danielle Raffaele

A Hedland mum has spoken out over “distressing” and “confronting” footage of local youth fighting and targeting other young people with physical abuse on dedicated social media pages.

Jodi De Haan said she was “shocked” to find a video of her 14-year-old daughter being hit in the head on an Instagram page along with other videos of similar incidents and group fights.

Earlier this year, Ms De Haan’s daughter was walking home from school when she was slapped in the face from behind, badly bruising her ear.

They immediately made a report to South Hedland Police Station but due to a lack of evidence the matter could not proceed.

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Ms De Haan later found footage of the incident on an Instagram page which shows similar videos of local teenagers in school uniform.

Ms De Haan said she wanted the incident to be a conversation starter for parents to be aware of what young people are exposed to online.

“It’s upsetting what happened to my daughter but I’m also concerned for the (other) youth involved, there is something going on that we as a community need to have a discussion about how we can help,” she said.

“The issue is often put in the too-hard basket, but it’s not too hard, it’s just a conversation that needs to be started.”

Ms De Haan reported the page to Instagram but the social media giant said it “didn’t go against its community guidelines”.

Hedland Senior High School principal Janine Keall said it was “disappointing” to see the footage, which was brought to the school’s attention in February, appear on social media.

“Parents can be assured this was managed at the time, and the majority of our students come to school to learn and their behaviour is outstanding,” she said.

“Violence is completely unacceptable and students know that we set high expectations for them.

“Any student involved in a fight will be suspended and, in serious cases, will face further disciplinary action, and police will be called.”

South Hedland officer-in-charge Gordon Armstrong said social media had a “poisonous” effect and urged parents to have conversations with their children about “right and wrong” behaviour online.

“Parents need to have conversations with their kids and teach them what is right and wrong,” he said.

“If there is criminal behaviour involved please get in touch with us ... it is important people come to us with information.”

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