Sex-rating site could ruin lives

A FACEBOOK site where young Rockhampton people rate each other on sexual performance has swelled in popularity despite repeated warnings about the dangers of posting lewd messages.

While authorities are aware of the site, it is not illegal and there appears no move at this stage to close it down even though some of the messages among its users are offensive.

Police are encouraging anyone with concerns about posts relating to under-age sex to contact them.

However there’s little else they can do.

And parents have been warned they are limited in their ability to stop youths accessing the site, which swelled to 830 supporters yesterday as media reports focused on similar sites across Queensland.

Premier Anna Bligh said the Facebook pages had gone too far.

The dean of CQUniversity’s School of Information and Communication Technology, Professor Mark Looi said the big danger for those posting messages on the site was once the information was out it was almost impossible to retract.

Professor Looi said the comments could come back to hurt years down the track.

He has called on Rockhampton schools to hold education sessions to inform children about the consequences.

“Facebook has the power to pull these sites down, but there is nothing illegal and nothing to compel them to do that,” Professor Looi said.

“They may be in bad taste, but if you shut down everything in bad taste you run the risk of becoming a censor.”

He said these sites had emerged as a phenomenon in the past seven to 10 days.

Most children could access the internet in a number of ways.

“The most effective thing parents can do is really try to make the child understand what the long-term implications are,” Professor Looi said. “Are parents helpless? As long as the parent has the respect of the child they are not.”

He said his gut feeling was there wasn’t a technological solution to the speed of growth of social websites when they took off, however it was an area he was keen to explore.

“I’m interested in understanding the way they spread and how they grow,” Professor Looi said.

The Morning Bulletin has not named the site.

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