How social media is saving Schoolies
VOLUNTEER guardian angels descending on Surfers Paradise to care for incoming Schoolies say behaviour improves every year because they want to look good on social media.
A range of services looking after the celebrating school graduates believe the rise of platforms including Instagram is driving more Schoolies to mark the occasion in healthier fashion.
The annual rite of passage officially kicks off this Saturday with about 22,000 high school graduates expected to flood the streets of Surfers Paradise for a fortnight-long beach party.
Schoolies CEO Mark Reaburn said he believed the generation had become more self-conscious about how they were perceived.
"What's changing is that people are becoming more self aware with their image and how they look," Mr Reaburn said.
"It's now about having a latte and getting a selfie in the morning and I think that's the change."
Red Frogs co-ordinator Chris George said in the 21 years the volunteer service had been helping at Schoolies the group had seen a drastic change in culture and Schoolies for many was now a "healthy" celebration.
"From what used to be assaults and dangers on balconies, we are now what we call a healthy Schoolies," Mr George said.
Mr George said the Red Frogs volunteers were still averaging walking about 3,500 disorientated Schoolies back to their accommodation every year.
"We walk them back to apartment, they go to sleep and wake up in the morning and have a smashed avocado on toast and a latte."
From Friday, Schoolies flooding into the Gold Coast will be in care of an estimated 1,100 staff and volunteers across seven services.
Drug Awareness Rehabilitation and Management (ARM) Australasia spokeswoman Alexandra Davis said there had even been a change to drug and alcohol use and described the teens as an increasingly "polite, great and wonderful group of kids".
"About 65 per cent of young people reported to using alcohol. Tobacco is next, we get a little bit of pot and some ecstasy as well.
"It used to be about drinking and hanging out with mates but now it's about hanging out with your mates, going and doing some prosocial things, like going for walks, and going to the chill out nights."
This year around 20 per cent of the school leavers will be 18, the legal drinking and clubbing age.
Schoolies Nation Organiser Billy Cross didn't believe they were necessarily showing better behaviour.
"At the end of the day the kids are in the last year of school celebrating with their friends. They are having a great time in a controlled environment," Mr Cross said.
"We've all been a Schoolie once in our life."