LARNE teenagers need to be encouraged to interact socially rather than spending their evenings on social media websites, a local police chief has said.
Inspector Glynis Kirkwood-Nagar said there were some young people who do not engage with anyone properly in real life but spent much of their time on sites such as Facebook.
She was responding to a question from Larne Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) member Patricia Beattie, who queried whether a drop in reported antisocial behaviour incidents throughout Larne might have anything to do with young people using Facebook rather than going out.
The police inspector said that she felt Facebook could be a forum for “all kinds of unpleasant activity”, adding that neighbourhood officers often spoke to children about safe internet use.
“It’s a very difficult environment and while it’s not for us to legislate, there are issues about it,” she said.
“There are children who do not engage with anybody and it’s important to get then into community centres so they don’t lose their communication skills.”
Inspector Kirkwood-Nagar said that at a recent flag protest in Larne there were girls of around 16-17 years old among the crowd.
“I asked them why they were there and they said they had nothing to do or nowhere to go.
“Community group activities tend to be geared towards boys playing football or rugby. We are now trying to get one of the community groups to give girls something that interests them, like make-up ideas.
“Those girls at the protest were bored, cold and had nowhere to go. If we create environments with responsible adults these children will grow up to be responsible adults themselves and do the same for the next generation,” she said.