PRESS STATEMENT: New Community Initiative Launched last week aimed at building awareness of children digital rights online & parents responsibility in issues such as Cyberbullying

posted 17 May 2011, 19:52 by Sweet As Social Media
MONDAY 16th May 2010

We are piloting a community course project this week starting in Massey on Thursday (19th May) at Massey Community House, Don Buck Rd, Massey from 630-830pm. With bullying a recent issue for many Kiwi schools, Sweet As Social Media initially started tackling what we consider to be a phenomenally whole issues of "cyberbullying" & "sexting" in our initial viral campaign aimed at making more parents & general users of sites such as Facebook & Twitter to consider their "online behavior". With crazy reports with statistics such as 91% of kids having experienced cyberbullying and only 11% of parents even being aware of the term, we urge parents to take an interest in what their kids are up to online. Titled, “Parenting in a Digital World:Kids & Social Media”, our two hour workshop aims to shift the focus & perception of parents from the technology to the fact its just a new way that their kids are talking. Emphasizing the three part message of "Engage, Educate & Empower" with parents, Project Coordinator, Jess Maheremphasizes the importance of being honest with your children.  

The workshop this week is just the first in a series of workshops and events locally planned for the new Charitable Trust project initiated by local Online Reputation Management business, AssistNZ Ltd. The organizers of the project want to try to build the awareness & confidence of parents  &  caregivers when it comes to setting rules online and compels parents everywhere to stop taking the "take the toys away" approach to problems online when they do come up, because it genuinely is making the problem worse. Three Kiwi kids have taken their own lives after being the victims of cyberbullying incidents since 2002, and the reason these kids don't tell their parents, they are scared they will just take it away. Standardizing and distributing workshops & course resources online is important to our objectives of all  participants “Paying Forward”  the lessons & message from our workshops with them.  Further more in-depth training may be done online by participants if they wish and children, classes and schools are encouraged to engage with the classes and project competitions registered on Glogster and submit video entries for our YouTube competition by adapting our script available online.  

"Remember that time in your life as a child, where you began to realize maybe your parents didn't know everything and you start to question some of the life lessons they had given you? Now imagine you had Google, for kids today this process is happening earlier and earlier in life. They literally learn it faster and faster than us so they'll always be ahead-but they are still kids. While there are a number of sites and services out there to "watch" you kids online, its better to teach them before they post it, because once its been put out there, in reality there is very little you can do to properly get rid of it. In my opinion, parents need to be straight up with their kids and admit to them that the kids know way more about these technologies than their parents do. But then remind the kids, that as their parents, they know a lot more about life experience and consequence than they do and explain to them that what is "cool" at 17, may not want be something they want following them around for the rest of their lives,"  states Maher. 

With Youth Week coming up from the 21-29th of May, we hope to organize a Registered event for the week for the local community & kids in the Massey area at Massey Community House in conjunction with a number of other local businesses support. We would like to use this opportunity to launch our new community initiative aimed at building awareness and discussion around the rights of kids & adults alike online. We then have plans to develop a way to support and connect these kids to one and other online using Facebook and the application development facilities it offers. We are also encouraging all schools locally to consider and review the process for handling and managing issues online and to ensure NetSafe's school pack has been adopted by the school. Maher stated, "the local community doesn't to seem to have embraced the idea as much as we had hoped to be honest, but we have a number of influential writers, reporters and social media & ICT industry experts all coming along, so now I just we also get to have some local parents! One our explicit aims and reasons for taking this approach was in the hope that it would help us to start to build a stronger, more cohesive sense of community to the Massey area." 

The group will be doing one last mail box drop of flyers for the discounted rate for locals on Thursday nights course this week and hope to also invite along any of those school counselors, advisors or administrators who are interested in taking a proactive stance to cyberbullying and "sexting" issues in their schools to also come along and give their feedback and insights on the course & project as the organizers would really appreciate the local communities questions and issues from the front line so to speak. We are inviting any local parents, families and members of school faculty to enjoy a discount on the event, so we have a limited number of tickets available for $10 this week, using the discount code MASSEY001 on our event registration site

The first Parenting in a Digital World: Kids & Social Media workshop will be held this Thursday (19 May, 2011) from 630pm to 830pm at Massey Community House, 385 Don Buck Road, Massey. Spaces are limited and prior registration a must, online preferable or email or phone 09 832 3188 for more information. 


The Project Planning Team
Sweet As Social Media Trust


Jess Maher

022 671 4060 
Project Coordinator 
Sweet As Social Media