Updated: Feb 26, 2022
Have you heard about Digital Waitaha, the new charitable trust in our region? And are you wondering how they have any relevance to you?
It’s pretty unusual to see a teenager and even younger children without a digital device seemingly permanently attached to their palm.
Are you concerned about online safety for yourself and your children? Do you really know what your children are accessing on their devices, and the language they are using when communicating with their friends? You may be one of the thousands of parents who would hesitate to answer that question. Over the last decade, or even the last two years, technology has progressed at a faster rate than ever before, are you keeping up? Ok, you might have the latest virus protector installed, set down some time limits for screen use and, voila, you pat yourself on the back for being a responsible parent. But you may be unaware of the risks your children are exposed to.
They use Google for their homework, that’s ok, isn’t it? But do you know what else they are googling?
All their friends are on it, so it must be okay, right? The number of games at their fingertips is mind-blowing. They can ‘chat’ with their mates. It’s all so easy. They are quiet for hours on end, isn’t that a parent’s wish? They download TikTok and watch some funny dance moves and copy them. They are happy.
But then again, they sometimes become moody. You sneak behind them to see what they’re looking at and the screen is quickly turned around. They let slip a message from a ‘friend’ and you’re horrified with the language used by the friend and indeed your angelic child.
Local schools have already embraced the Trust’s STOP, BLOCK & TALK® digital safety course, an evidence-based programme run by a qualified IT consultant and created with input from community leaders such as social workers, local police, principals, teachers and expert digital citizens – senior college students. The Trust would love to extend this programme and others (such as Digital Etiquette) to the wider community.
The Trust’s aim is for all individuals to be safe, ethical and responsible digital device users who successfully manage their digital wellbeing and safety. Their full vision and mission is found on their website digitalwaitaha.org.nz.
The Trust is currently seeking funding from community organisations to enable them to offer their programmes free of charge to other groups such as BASE, YMCA, Marae, Senior Citizens and multicultural groups. If your organisation is interested to find out more, head to their website for information.
Their programmes may not stop parents worrying but Digital Waitaha will definitely give us some tips and advice and help find the right language to start conversations with our children about their online safety. Check out the website for helpful hints and tips for parents to watch out for during the summer holidays.
In the meantime, we are asking our community for thoughts about our programmes, what would you like to see Digital Waitaha cover? What is important to you and your whānau? Let us know, there’s a quick 2-minute survey on our website or email us at email@example.com.