Community Events

With one in four children now having an online presence before the time they are born, the realities in which kids are growing up today would appear abstract & foreign to many of us. Younger children today are referred to as "Digital Natives", with the use and implementation of such technologies appearing second nature to many.  

Often there is little help for teenagers particularly when something goes wrong online, 

Sweet As Social Media YouTube Booth Launch & Celebrate Technology Youth Week Event

posted 29 May 2011, 08:21 by Jess Maher   [ updated 29 May 2011, 08:24 ]


FRIDAY 27th May 2011 at Massey Community House, Waitakere, New Zealand

First Event & our Launch of the “YouTube Booth” went off this afternoon! We experienced a few glitches, which is to be expected in any “first” really, including missing a lot of a school traffic with a late set up but we still managed to engage a few of the local kids in the community, with roughly 5 or 6 of them starting from start to end… Above you can see the play list of all the footage from the arvo… a lot of people don’t seem to like the camera it appears, including one of the Reb Bull girls which shocked us a little, but props to her for getting in front of the camera anyway! Unfortunately the sound on Mr Whippy’s is no good as our web cam did not like the wind! Paula Bennett, who did not seem to like the booth too much for some reason, was nice enough to record a clip for us anyway but we are struggling to get it up as we had to do it on Jess’ phone instead!

   Thanks to all that come along in support and especially to those who were game enough to jump in our Youtube Booth for us and help us share the message and thanks especially to Chade from Sports Waitakere, Skylar from ICE box, Jane from Massey Community Center, Sam from Diesel Phoenix, Richard from Mr Whippy, the Red Bull girls (sorry didn’t get your names!), the team from PDF2Print, Mike from Burger Fuel Lincoln Road, Andy from Social Safe & Minister Paula Bennett for stopping in…

    And last but by no means least, massive thanks to Kristi, the “Twirls”; Jude, Anthony & Alanna; Terence & Kelly-Ann; GJ; Matt East & Sir Peter Leitch (Mad Butcher) and anyone else who may have forgotten to thank here!

Untitled Post

posted 27 May 2011, 04:42 by Unknown user   [ updated 27 May 2011, 13:09 ]

First Community Course for Sweet As Social Media Society Project; Parenting in a digital world

posted 19 May 2011, 08:11 by Jess Maher

We held our first ever community workshop, tonight focusing on Digital Parenting and Kids using Social Media at Massey Community House (19th May 630-830pm). We had anticipated a struggle with achieving considerable attendance in numbers as per the reports we had heard and been told by others trying to mobilize projects in this area, despite their best intentions, parents seem to be very unsure, potentially rather overwhelmed and otherwise, rather inactive in their parenting roles with kids today when it relates to an online forum particularly. 

With a number of different takes on the main issues and risks facing kids today in our ever increasingly connected & digital worlds, the issues of primary concern for parents can be overwhelming and confusing for many parents. In discussions tonight, the primary risks and issues revolved around the following; 

- cyber bullying and the conduct and manner in which many websites seems to support & facilitate these behaviors

- "sexting" and the issue and relevance of mobile phones when it comes to digital issues 

- digital rights and the ramifications of entering into contracts with a click (not actively considering terms & conditions) 

- the balance between empowering kids to give them freedom online and moinitoring/tracking usage to ensure responsible & safe usage 

- the challenge of being able to get parents to appreciate the need to proactively address these issues and considering that their kids could be at risk BEFORE getting into a position where they need to respond to a problem 

- the way to best disseminate knowledge to parents, and how to get the message out there to be listened to by parents

- the lack of confidence of many parents to feel empower to influence or manage their kids behavior online when they don't feel they understand what their kids are doing on there anyway

- the danger of empowering and engaging kids with these technologies when the risk of parents "removing access" means that kids are not sharing these issues or problems with their parents when they do occur  

- how the best way is to tackle these kind of issues & problems reoccurring throughout NZ in a proactive and positive way rather than "ambulance at the bottom of the cliff" mentality & the personal involvement impact

- how to overcome the reluctance and misconceptions of the essence of "social media" itself & why it may relate to them 


Parenting in a Digtial World: Kids & Social Media

posted 4 May 2011, 04:11 by Jess Maher   [ updated 4 May 2011, 16:57 ]

(Sweet As Social Media Community course for Parents & Caregivers from AssistNZ Ltd)

In a two hour seminar, we explore the world of social media from a kids point of view for the benefit of Parents & Caregivers. Providing an overview and introduction to the exsisiting resources, services and support avaliable in the community, we will cover some tips & tricks for keeping up with your kids online and explore the biggest risks & issues being discussed, we hope to help provide parents some insight into this context of youth today. 

Parenting in a Digital World: Kids & Social Media


  • Thu 19 May, 6:30pm – 8:30pm


Massey Community House, 385 Don Buck Road, Massey


All Ages

Online Tickets:

  • Sweet As Social Media Community Course: $25.00


With 98% of Kiwi Schools having internet access and iGovt launched last year, the digital world is now so integrated & embedded in our societies that it is being becoming more difficult to imagine our lives without technology. For those of us who can remember the fear and threat of the "Y2K Bug", the last decade has shown us rapid and exponential growth in online technologies. Not only are our virtual realities now a part of our daily lives, but they have fundamentally and radically changed them. Today, we have got the point where reports state that one in four kids have an "online presence" before they are born. 

Social Media has changed parenting as much as it has other aspects of our work & lives. Teenagers are the most at risk of adverse implications from online activities at the moment. They are not only the biggest users of many of these technologies but they also appear to have little ability to comprehend the risks associated to the permanency and public nature of social media or the relevance of having a "digital footprint" which will follow them throughout their lives. In our experience, they are acutely aware that they know much more about these technologies than any kind of authority figure they can identify with. In fact we agree with them, and even go so far as to seek out the assistance and support of local youth where we can to help us to solve some of the hardest issues brought to us at AssistNZ. 

Younger children will not know a world without the internet, MP3s and real time, global communication platforms, they are "digital natives". The ease and ability of the youngest of children we interact with to pick up these technologies and have an instinctive ability to use them, without any idea of what they are doing- continues to both shock and frighten us. The internet is still a "wild west" and to many degrees, the environment & culture fostered online has combined to create a playground which is far from a safe and certainly not always a pleasant place to explore... 

Parents need to be aware that they can be held legally accountable for the actions of their children online. That these minors, who unwittingly step into a contractual agreements with the site, such as Facebook as part of the registration process, regardless of weather or not you have given them consent. The debate over the responsibility to protect these kids being the place of schools, parents, governments, service providers or the community more broadly is redundant. We all need to work together to make sure better answers and solutions are available for Kiwi kids & families when things go wrong and it is the responsibility of each and every caregiver of children to educate & inform themselves as to protect kids online while still enabling& preparing them to make use of the opportunities such technologies can bring. 

We will cover a brief overview of the biggest concerns and issues for parents relating to their children & their activities and behavior online. We will then discuss and share some of the other relevant & related services and support available to parents to assist them dealing with these issues and outline the preventative measures families may chose to adopt. We briefly explore the kinds of risks and problems attendees may have already faced or experienced and will have some insight & advice from a legal perspective on some of these topics and will provide materials for parents to continue their own learning and progress with such processes at their own pace, assisted with ongoing support & guidance online after the workshop. Providing guides and advice to take away which outlines sets and processes to ensure digital security and safety, we focus our conversations on the discussion of "best approach" for families & kids online & will work in groups to outline guides or a set of house rules for behavior online to initiate conversations in your household. 

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