Resource released to promote cybersafety for rangatahi

The national Māori and Pasifika suicide prevention programme, Waka Hourua Leadership Group, has released a document it hopes will pave the way for new cybersafety programmes aimed at indigenous people.

Suicide Prevention: The Cybersafety for an Indigenous Youth Population document was officially released today.

This tool shares varying initiatives across New Zealand to help young people and their whānau use cyberspaces in a safe way.

The chair of the group, Emeritus Professor Tā Mason Durie, said the document will provide a basis for groups, agencies, parents and whānau to find ways to advocate for improved cyber safety programmes for indigenous populations.

Mason says, “There is a need to address the mental health implications of bullying and cyber-bullying in regard to the person on the receiving end and the perpetrator.

These innovations could include interactive pamphlets, cyber safety websites and video developments that have the involvement of whānau alongside their young people.”

Tā Mason believes the goals of indigenous rangatahi and their parents should be at the heart of any strategies that are created.

“Indigenous rangatahi and their parents are major stakeholders in this process so their aspirations will need to contribute to the development of strategies that keep tamariki and mokopuna cyber safe.”

Waka Hourua Programme Lead Mapihi Raharuhi said rangatahi need to know where to go for help.

She says, “As technology progresses in the lives of young people, we must strive for effective strategies so young people know where to go to for support if someone harasses them online. 

We also need to ensure whānau is involved so the young person is not alone and is protected from harmful acts from others.”