Posted: 2 months ago
We are writing to inform you about a new online safety programme (Digital Wellbeing) for parents, grandparents and caregivers, being piloted by Hut City Libraries starting in the July school holidays. We recognise that most schools have programmes in place to keep students safe online, but recent research suggests that parents are missing out.
According to that research, 92% of New Zealand adults are concerned about young children accessing inappropriate content on the Internet. This is of particular concern since one in five Kiwi children is being cyberbullied.
Furthermore, young people aren't the only ones bearing the brunt of unwanted online activity. During a recent 12-month period, a third of New Zealanders experienced at least one type of unwanted digital communication.
For the pilot programme, we are using the Digital Licence developed by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation in Australia with the support of Google. This focuses on online safety and responsibility. While the Digital Licence was originally developed for intermediate and secondary school students, we think this is just as relevant for adults.
More details about the scope of the programme are included with this letter.
All costs for the pilot programme are being covered by InternetNZ and Hut City Libraries, as well as some corporate sponsors, so the programme is free for families who wish to participate.
In addition, any family without access to the internet in their homes is also eligible for the very affordable JUMP internet service, supported by the Spark Foundation. JUMP is a high-quality internet service that connects to the Skinny 4G wireless network. The service is pre-pay and only costs $10 for 30GB. The wireless modem is free. There is no fixed-term contract and families can top up at any time.
As an additional benefit for Hut City families, the first 100 families to successfully complete the Digital Licence programme will also be offered a free refurbished Microsoft Surface PRO tablet computer. These have been donated by a local business partner and come with a full 12-month warranty.
Families interested in joining the programme should contact their nearest library to book a place, or go the Stepping UP website (www.steppingup.nz) to register online. We do encourage parents to bring their children with them where possible to get their help in working through the programme. Classes will be fun, easy-going, activity based and a great chance to share in a learning experience.
We would appreciate your help in letting families at your school or in your community know about this opportunity so that together we can make the internet a safer place for our children.