Too much social media can be a bad thing. Two girls lost in a stormwater drain in Adelaide, Australia, updated their Facebook() status instead of calling emergency services on Sunday night, in a situation authorities called “worrying”.
It’s not clear how much danger the 10- and 12-year old girls were in: Australia’s ABCNews describes them as both “lost” and “trapped”, but it’s possible that they felt no imminent danger. Nonetheless, the Metropolitan Fire Service expressed concern that the youngsters, equipped with phones, would raise the alarm on Facebook rather than calling 000, the Australian equivalent of 911:
The 10- and 12-year-old girls updated a Facebook status to say they were lost in a drain on Honeypot Road at Hackham in Adelaide’s southern suburbs on Sunday night. Glenn Benham from the MFS says it was fortunate a young friend was online at the time and was able to call for help for them.
“It is a worry for us because it causes a delay on us being able to rescue the girls,” he said.
“If they were able to access Facebook from their mobile phones, they could have called 000, so the point being they could have called us directly and we could have got there quicker than relying on someone being online and replying to them and eventually having to call us via 000 anyway.”
It’s not the first time social media has been used in place of an emergency call: in Atlanta, Georgia in May 2009, a councilman was concerned that his cellphone battery would be flat by the time a 911 call connected. Instead, he Tweeted: “Need a paramedic on corner of John Wesley Dobbs and Jackson st. Woman on the ground unconscious. Pls ReTweet”.
Image: Metropolitan Fire Service, courtesy Tarale on Flickr