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Facebook party potential recipe for disaster

Facebook party potential recipe for disaster

Western Bay of Plenty Police want parents and young people alike to be aware of the dangers of promoting parties on social media after being alerted to a large youth party that was planned for this weekend.

The Western Bay of Plenty Area Commander, Inspector Mike Clement, says Police became aware of the party which was being promoted on Facebook. The party was being organised by a college student, with tickets being sold around secondary schools for $5.

"The location of the party was meant to be kept secret until a ticket was purchased. It was to be held at house of a young person whose parents were due to be away for the weekend.

"Our information suggests the organiser intended selling 150 tickets, however, many more people had indicated they were coming on Facebook. Organising and promoting an event this way can lead to large numbers of people attending, with unexpected and unforeseen consequences such as disorder, crime and other harm."

Inspector Clement says neither the parents of the organiser, nor those who own the property where the party was due to be held, knew anything about it.

"As you can imagine, this number of young people, combined with alcohol and no parental or security supervision could have just been a recipe for disaster.

"Even in the past few weeks there have been a number of serious incidents at residential parties around New Zealand, including one 17 year old who was set on fire.

"When young people consume large amounts of alcohol, as is often the case when gatherings of this type without parental supervison take place, they are more likely to suffer harm, become a victim of crime, or to commit a crime themselves.

"Young women are particularly vulnerable as they are often unable to make good decisions about keeping themselves safe when intoxicated. There is also the potential for alcohol poisoning, which can have fatal consequences.

"We are not just concerned about the potential for alcohol-related harm for these young people. Those involved in the organisation or hosting of parties like this can also be held liable in relation to the supply of alcohol to under-age people. That is a record they could have for the rest of their lives."

Inspector Clement says today's young people are living in an environment where they are faced with greater challenges and pressures than ever before, including a culture of parties, social media and alcohol.

"While our young people do have to take responsibility for keeping themselves safe, adults also have a responsibility to equip them with the tools and experience to make the right choices in that high-pressure environment.

"There is nothing wrong with well planned and supervised gatherings for young people. But please, as a parent, make sure you are part of your young person's life. Get an understanding of where they are going, who they are going with and help them develop their own personal safety plan if something goes wrong."

If parents are looking for information to help their young people, a range of topics, including parties, alcohol, sex, driving, is available on the website www.teentools.co.nz


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