Is Facebook and Twitter the new 911?

Two pre-teen girls updated a Facebook status to say they were lost in a drain in Australia instead of calling 911. Glenn Benham from the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) says it was fortunate a young male friend was online at the time and was able to call for help on their behalf.  Benham was concerned the girls didn’t call the Australian equivalent of the U.S. help number 911.

But in a world where an entire generation of kids has seen voice mail and email be replaced by texting and social networking sites as the primary mode of communication, is it anywhere we have yet another clash between generations?  Benham suggests the youth should conform to mainstream protocols. But have these protocols lost their relevance?  Is public safety falling the times?  Should public safety services such as fire and police have a presence on Facebook and Twitter to monitor cries for help?  Is this just another case of an older generation resisting change or a younger generation not following the rules?  Which party is creating the bigger risk?

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