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Schoolies warned of social media risks

AAP logoAAP 15/11/2016 Ed Jackson

The long-term consequences of a nude selfie pose just as much risk to Queensland school leavers as drugs and alcohol, Schoolies organisers have warned.

Inappropriate social media posts and criminal activity have been highlighted as dangers for students to think about as they head into annual end-of-year celebrations on the Gold Coast from Saturday.

Concerns over synthetic drugs have been flagged following a recent mass overdose on the Gold Coast that resulted in the death of a Victorian man on an end-of-season footy trip.

But it's the less obvious perils that schoolies are being reminded about.

"Taking a photo that's clearly inappropriate, kids need to be conscious of the fact that photo could follow them," Gold Coast Schoolies Advisory Group chair Mark Reaburn said.

"A conviction during Schoolies is a conviction that could follow them through their careers."

Mr Reaburn said drugs and alcohol remain a concern, but no more than in previous years.

He also believed the impact of the organised Schoolies Hub and the Response Zone at Surfers Paradise had created a safer environment for students and locals.

An elderly man berated Mr Reaburn during a press conference at the Surfers Paradise foreshore on Tuesday, telling him and his staff to remove fencing that had been erected on the beachfront and give the beach back to the public.

Mr Reaburn said trying to stop school leavers from descending on Surfers Paradise was like trying to "hold back the tide".

"The kids come every year and what we focus on is keeping the kids safe," he said.

Drug Arm Australia's Dennis Young said alcohol was by far the drug most abused by schoolies historically, but issued a warning to anyone contemplating taking synthetic drugs, such as those that resulted in the overdose situation in October.

"The real issue is they don't know what they're taking, they don't know the strength, they don't know where it's come from," Mr Young said.

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