The principals of two Dunedin high schools are worried a
Facebook page asking people to nominate a Dunedin high school
''babe of the day'' could put pupils at risk from sexual
The page, set up last week, has more than 2100 ''likes'' and
its creation comes after a proliferation of ''babe of the
day'' Facebook pages for New Zealand university students.
This includes one at Otago, which has gained more than 19,000
''likes'' since going online this month.
The Dunedin high school page has pictures of girls - along
with their names - from St Hilda's Collegiate School and
Columba College, with the site's anonymous creator asking
people to only submit photos of pupils in year 12 and 13.
The principals of both schools said when contacted yesterday
they were concerned the site could put pupils at risk from
St Hilda's acting principal, Geraldine Corkery, who became
aware of the page on Monday, said it was concerning the
''babe of the day'' trend had moved to high school pupils.
''We don't like it when our students are stereotyped or
objectified, because they are actually inspiring young women
in their own right,'' she said.
Asked if there was concern pupils who had their images posted
on the site could be vulnerable to sexual predators, she
said: ''Absolutely, yes.''
The page also raised issues about the privacy settings young
people chose on websites such as Facebook, as she was under
the impression the photos of St Hilda's pupils were not put
up by the girls themselves.
She called on the person behind the page to take it down.
Columba College principal Elizabeth Wilson, who did not know
about the page until contacted yesterday, said she was ''very
disappointed'' to hear about it.
''The school will have to look into it.''
She believed Facebook and social media ''had its place'', but
it was important pupils used the sites appropriately.
''I think education is the key to this; keep talking to young
people about the risks involved with certain types of risks
on social media.''
One of the administrators of the site, who wished to remain
anonymous, defended the page when contacted yesterday.
''I and the other two admins of the page are aware that the
page may look a bit creepy but as all three of us are high
school students and under 18 ourselves, we don't think we are
doing too much harm,'' the person said.
There had been ''only'' one request for a photo to be taken
off the page and they quickly obliged and removed the image.
Police community relations co-ordinator Sergeant Matt Scoles
said the page, which was most likely not illegal, was part of
a worrying trend in the way youth were using social media.
''A lot of it extends from a significant naivety from parents
and caregivers ... and a lack of supervision around the use
of computers,'' Sgt Scoles said.
Parents could not afford to have their ''heads in the sand''
and should set rules around their children using social
These rules could include allowing them to use a computer
only in the lounge or not allowing them to have a Facebook
account unless they were ''friends'' with their parents on
''We have to keep banging home the message that there are
some not very nice people around ... and they spend a lot of
time on these sites looking for impressionable or vulnerable
There has been disagreement over the Dunedin ''babe of the
day'' page, with some on Facebook calling it ''sexist'',
''demoralising'' and ''vulgar'' and others saying it is
''humorous'' and ''just a bit of fun''.
Otago University Students' Association president Francisco
Hernandez said he had concerns about the page.
''While we're all for promoting how fantastic our students
are, we do have concerns about the consent issues that this
page raises,'' he said.