Young women are now twice as likely as young men to develop mental illness, according to new research. And those who work to help girls navigate the pitfalls of growing up say the internet and social media are not helping.
“We are really looking at the internet as ‘it’s a junkyard’ — there is so much information out there, and info isn’t necessarily targeting [girls’] best interest,” said Ally Oliver-Perham, the co-founder of the website Rosie.
It handles up to 3,000 questions a week from girls looking for answers on everything from women’s health, to bullying and relationships.
Rosierespect.org.au already uses sophisticated marketing techniques to help girls find its site.
“We use key search terms that people are searching on Google, and we target those,” Ms Oliver-Perham said.
“If a young girl is looking up something to do with healthy relationships, we’ve targeted that age group.”
That means the Rosie website will pop up near the top of that search.
Now the site is launching a new app to help girls deal with some of the more negative aspects of the internet and social media.