Home > Dail Eireann topical issue debate. Social media regulation [Youth drinking].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann topical issue debate. Social media regulation [Youth drinking]. (12 Feb 2014)

External website: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20a...

Deputy Derek Keating: I am grateful to the Ceann Comhairle for selecting this matter. I am disappointed the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources could not be present but I understand. I thank the Minister of State for attending in his absence. 

This is one of the most important Topical Issue matters that I will table during the lifetime of this Government. I recently had a meeting with students from Lucan Community College in my constituency and I am happy that two of them, Orla Kenny and Katie Farrell, are present. I was challenged by them to examine, research and study the Neknomination phenomenon. As I said to them at the time, it was one of the most disturbing experiences of my life. I have never seen a four or five minute film that was so disturbing and I had difficulty containing myself in the seat while I watched it. When it concluded, they said: "Derek, this is not the worst by any means."


There is significant peer pressure on young people today. Neknomination is a Facebook game. It is a dangerous practice that has led to deaths, sickness, injury and increased psychological problems over the past few weeks. Friends contact each other through social media to make a dare and some of those who do not respond to the dare stand to lose their friends. The vast majority of young people in second and third level have many hundreds of contacts on their smartphones and tablets and there is continuous communication. Adults often communicate with each other through social networks from time to time but I have come to realise young people communicate continuously through them. It is a way of life for many people, particularly young people, and it helps to form relationships and communications.


The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is on record saying it would be helpful if Facebook agreed to take the Neknomination page down.


[For the full debate, click this link to the Oireachtas website]


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