Australian parents are urged to monitor the online activity of their teenagers in the wake of two Sydney stabbing attacks earlier this month.

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel of ‘Christ The Good Shepherd’ Church in Wakeley was stabbed during a live-stream sermon on April 15 and the video has since gone viral across several social media platforms.

Elon Musk, owner of X (formerly known as Twitter) has come under fire from the Australian government for his refusal to remove the video which has now been deemed a terrorist attack by ASIO Director-General Mike Burgess.

Short-form video content thrives on X’s competitor company TikTok, who released 2024 data showing 9.73 million active Australians users every month.

Sydney mum Allison France lives close to Wakeley, Sydney and said her teenagers knew the church bishop involved in the live-stream stabbing incident.

Her 15-year-old son had followed the church for some time on social media and was attracted to their overall message of love and acceptance.

“What really sort of got to the core of me was that I had no idea he knew this person involved in this incident,” Ms France said. 

“He goes to a nondenominational Christian school but we are not a religious family by any stretch of the imagination.”

Social media and internet use by teenagers is a top concern for 60% of 631 parents and carers, according to a 2023 survey by ReachOut Australia.

This statistic jumps to 70% for parents and carers of teens living in metropolitan areas like Sydney.

AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw spoke to the National Press Club earlier today and accused social media corporations of refusing to snuff out social combustion occurring on their platforms. 

“If it used to take a village to raise a child, constant advances in technology now means it takes a country, global law enforcement, and the private sector to help keep them safe,” Commissioner Kershaw said.

Source: Roy Morgan

Ms France had advice for parents who might struggle with monitoring how their teenagers use social media.

“You just need to have that chat with them, like, ‘Oh, you know, what have you seen online today?'” she said.

“Make it more organic, like conversations over the dinner table rather than an interrogation.”