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Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications
Role and potential of the National Broadband Network

HOSIE, Mr Aram, Director of Research and Policy, Inspire Foundation

STACE, Ms Emma, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Inspire Foundation

PEPPER, Miss Helen Sarah, Youth Ambassador, Inspire Foundation


CHAIR: We welcome witnesses from the Inspire Foundation to today's hearing. Although the committee does not require you to give evidence under oath, I should advise you that the hearing is a legal proceeding of the parliament and therefore has the same standing as proceedings of the respective Houses. We do have a written submission from you, but would like to make some opening comments on the submission for about five minutes in the interest particularly of those listening to the broadcast? Then will have a question-and-answer session.

Mr Hosie : Yes. Inspire is a national non-profit mental health organisation. Our mission is to help young people to live happier lives. We were established in 1996 at a time when Australia's youth suicide rate was really increasing. We were actually the very first organisation in Australia to utilise the internet to deliver mental health services. Our programs centrally involve young people in putting them together and utilise the latest technology to build trusted social brands that really become part of young people's environment. They specifically target the kinds of protective factors that help to build mental health and wellbeing. All of our work is evidence based and much of our research and evaluation takes place in partnership with other academic institutions and research centres.

Our main program is Last year it was accessed by 450,000 young people, 32 per cent of whom came from regional and remote Australia. Our research has found that most of the young people using the service are in high to very high levels of distress but do not realise that they are and consequently are not actually accessing any other face-to-face services. The committee might be aware that suicide remains the leading cause of death for young people in Australia, so I think it is probably fair to say that existing mental health services are not well servicing the needs of the 800,000-odd young people who experience mental health difficulties, particularly given the fact that we know that 70 per cent of young people who are experiencing difficulties do not access services. To address this service gap, it would be fair to say that existing psychological services would need a massive investment of funds and it would be one that would impose a very large cost burden on society. Then, given the barriers to help-seeking that exist, it is questionable whether, in putting health professionals in every community, they would be accessed in particular by young people.

Inspire's position is that we need a new model of service delivery—one that augments really good face-to-face services with other types of services that offer high quality at a low cost per person and can cope with high volumes and geographical dispersion. Certainly, our experience in delivering indicates that online interventions do offer these features and have a critical role to play in addressing the needs of those who currently miss out on care. This is especially so for young people. I think young people in Australia are our true digital citizens. We know that, in the age group of 16 to 29, 90 per cent of them are using the internet every day and in that age group they are spending around 22 hours a week online. Unsurprisingly, Mission Australia consistently finds that, after friends and family, the internet is where young people will go for help, over and above helplines or accessing a GP or school counsellor or other face-to-face services.

Fourteen years ago, we saw the potential of the internet to transform and change the way we deliver services. Now, as we see the potential rollout of high-speed broadband across Australia, we can see that there is even greater potential to continue to adapt how we deliver services. Inspire is engaged in a number of activities that are designed to explore and harness both existing and emerging technologies. We run the Reach Out Teachers Network and Reach Out Pro, which are kind of work force development programs designed to help educators and health professionals to understand technology, use it in their day-to-day work and particularly to achieve mental health outcomes for young people. We also founded and continue to chair the Technology and Wellbeing Roundtable, which is a knowledge-sharing alliance of industry, research, not-for-profit and government organisations that all view technology as an enabler of the wellbeing of children and young people.

It is particularly exciting that last year we led a consortium of 64 organisations in a successful bid to establish the Cooperative Research Centre for Young People, Technology and Wellbeing. Organisations in that include Orygen Youth Health and the Brain and Mind Research Institute. We have industry partners such as Telstra. The CRC is worth $100 million over the next five years and $27 million of that has been contributed by the federal government. The CRC is first and foremost underpinned by a belief in the strengths and capacities of young people but also by a shared vision for a society that really embraces the potential of technology to connect communities and enable young Australians to be able to safe, happy and well. The CRC has a mandate to conduct new research but also to really look at how we can use that research and existing research and translate it into accessible products, services and policies that will benefit young people.

That is a really quick overview of who Inspire is and what we do. We are very much an organisation that is 100 per cent about community using technology to achieve social good. We feel very confident that, as high-speed broadband is rolled out across Australia, it will further improve access to mental health services, especially for young people. We are keen to take questions, but, before we do that, what I would really like to do is hand over to Helen because, as a young person, she is able to give a first-hand experience of the kinds of stuff that I just talked about broadly.

Miss Pepper : Helen is really quite nervous, so excuse the reading. According to some statistics and some health professionals, I should be dead right now, but quite obviously I am not pretty much because the internet saved my life. I owe a large part of my life to and the Inspire Foundation. I am one of those young people that Aram was talking about. I am 20 years old and I have been labelled with more psychiatric diagnoses than I can count on one hand. But I am able to sit here today and tell you that this is a direct result of the support, encouragement and guidance that I have received from Inspire's amazing website, To be honest, when I first heard about the government's plan for the National Broadband Network, I did not entirely support it. I wondered how it could be of higher priority than investing in Australia's health system. I thought, 'How can it be more important for young people to be able to view web pages and complete downloads faster when mental health disorders and suicide account for approximately 14 per cent of Australians total health burden'. I got so caught up in the stereotypical view of young people and the internet that I looked over my experience of how they can work so fantastically together.

I will give you a bit about my story. Growing up I was happy. I was a happy little kid. I loved life and I loved learning new things about the world around me. Once I hit high school, however, things began to change. I remember being shy, not wanting to speak up in class and eventually not wanting to go to school at all, which is not uncommon in high schools, I think. Adolescence had hit me head-on and clouded the rest of my teenage years with grief, confusion, depression, anxiety and isolation. Even though I did my best to ignore the tumultuous emotions I felt for as long as I could, putting them down to my oversensitivity in an increasingly cold, harsh world, as time went on I began to realise that my ignorance was not really bliss and I needed to seek help somehow.

This is where ReachOut comes in. At this point I did not have any hope left in myself. I truly believed that I was a complete waste of space and a huge burden on everyone around me. In a moment of desperation I googled 'depression' and began trying to figure out if there was actually something wrong with me. Along with a couple of other well-known youth mental health websites up came I know it sounds far-fetched, but the information, the stories and the support through the forums actually did save my life. I found myself submerged in this amazingly positive and unconditionally supportive online community full of young people going through similar things to me—something I had never experienced before, because it is so not talked about in society. So, after months of posting anonymously in the forums and online discussions as well as reading the ReachOut blogs and fact sheets—there is one fact sheet that I have here today with comments from other young people if you would like to have a look—my moods began to change. Since then my friends and the crew, like Emma and Aram, have encouraged me to keep seeking medical support, despite three knock-backs from the public system, have given me reason to get through every day, day after day, and have given me the confidence and passion to work in the mental health field. They have supported me through five lengthy hospital admissions to psychiatric wards, encouraged me to go into my fourth year of a Bachelor of Social Work and, last but not least, brought me here today. To me these are no small feats—not, I think, by anyone's measure—and it is for these reasons and many more that I became a youth ambassador for ReachOut and Inspire so that I could give a bit back to the amazing foundation I have gained so much from. Now I want to make a difference for other young people, and that is why I am sitting here today, a nervous wreck.

Despite my first doubts, I truly believe that the National Broadband Network has the potential to significantly improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians, particularly young people and the target area that ReachOut encompasses: 12 to 25 year olds. I personally would love to see clinical support available over the internet. With high-speed internet, access to video counselling, therapy and training could be provided to people in geographically and/or socially isolated communities. ReachOut already connects young people from all over the country through their forums, but text based discussions can only go so far and offer so much. So online interactive media would complement ReachOut's youth involvement strategy amazingly by bringing young people together without the financial and time costs associated with face-to-face interactions.

E-mental health is new but it is also incredibly exciting from a young person's point of view. It formed the basis of my help seeking, which has kept me alive and coping with my mental illness to this day. Imagine if it could not only be the foundation for youth seeking mental health help but also be available for continuing online therapy, group therapy, peer interaction and support. Imagine what a difference that could make to socially and geographically isolated young people and all the other young people in our society. I think the possibilities are endless. The internet, despite what many think, has massive potential to create, sustain and complement services targeted at young people, so I think: why not? If you check out you can see for yourselves what I am talking about and what Aram and Emma will be talking about too.

CHAIR: Fantastic. That was a tremendous presentation. You have no reason to feel nervous at all. That was great. A number of health professionals, particular from rural and remote areas, have made the point to us that young people are very reluctant to engage with traditional service delivery models. I imagine that for many young people the only one they know is perhaps the family GP, and how they feel about accessing them depends on the nature of their relationship. So the example you have given is a profoundly important one for us in dealing with this. It appears to me that more broadly the sense of community that can be created online—sometimes we are very negative about game playing and things like but when you talk to young people you find that they are actually creating relationships and communities in those places. When my own mum complained that my son was on his computer I said, 'He's in there with a team of people playing a game. I used to be in there with a book talking with nobody.' I would be interested in your perspective on the broader capacity for engagement in a community and a sense of belonging that can be provided, from your experience as a young person.

Miss Pepper : The community is really what ReachOut is centred on. The forums facilitate such a community that it feels like you are friends with all these different people from around the country, even though you have never met face to face. I think people who play online games that seem to get a lot of bad media are also making good friendships over those connecting kinds of games. With ReachOut the community is text based and that support can only go so far, and as a youth ambassador there is only so much you can do to give back to the organisation through that community. Inspire is amazing and will fly us to Sydney to have a workshop to see how we want the new process of ReachOut to go. It is all youth involvement. We say, 'This is what we think is cool. This is what we want our community to look like.' But that is face-to-face interaction and coming together, which stops a lot of people from being able to be involved. So having video interaction—being able to Skype large groups of people into the same conversation—would just be amazing. Then you could actually meet someone without being in the same place as them and not only know them by their pseudonym on the forums, because they are anonymous.

CHAIR: Something that has been raised with us is that to some extent this technology is available but broadband is patchy even at one to one, and it requires even more power behind it for a group coming together. That is what you are talking about—you are talking about groups of people coming together?

Miss Pepper : Yes, definitely. It is moderated by staff, so staff check over it, but it is all peer support—it is all peer to peer. If somebody is having a down day and they have posted something that says, 'I'm really having a bad day' or something, another person on there will say, 'Hey, what's going on. Why don't you try doing this, this or this, or check another thread on the forums or some helpful fact sheets on the website that might be able to help you out in this really hard time.' It is not always like that; it is not always people whingeing and complaining and the response to that. It is actually a really positive community, and I think that is why so many young people are attracted to it. You think, 'Yes, I'm having a crap day but I'm going to log on and chat to my friends and that's going to brighten my day for me.'

CHAIR: That is great. Aram, you have described the initiatives that you are looking to undertake as the technology becomes available. One thing that has been raised with us in the education sector is not only, and importantly, the delivery to students but also the capacity for professional development and support to teachers. I am interested in what you are looking, potentially, to do with access to fast broadband in that area.

Mr Hosie : At the moment we do quite a few workforce development initiatives. Our work with teachers focuses on increasing both their mental health literacy and their use of technology. Much of it is delivered via webinars. One of the benefits of webinars, particularly in regional and remote school communities that have difficulty getting replacement teachers and giving teachers time off, is that they enable teachers to engage in that professional development while still doing their teaching. But the consistent feedback we get from teachers is that the reliability of the video streaming and the quality of the interaction are really poor. In all the evaluations we do of our program they say that the content was great and the ability to access a webinar was great but the frustration was that the link kept dropping, the video kept dropping and the quality was poor—and there is nothing we can do about that at the moment. As speeds and bandwidth go up, that will get better. This is particularly about regional communities who most need it, and we cannot give them anything better at the moment. So with our teacher workforce development it is not necessarily doing anything different to what we currently do; it is being able to give a much higher quality product to people and therefore have people much more engaged in what we are doing.

CHAIR: And your target group is up to 25; is that correct?

Mr Hosie : That is right.

CHAIR: So I would imagine you even have young teachers, for whom those first few years are the most difficult. Their capacity to interact professionally around those issues would be useful in sustaining them in the teaching profession too.

Mr Hosie : Certainly. Within both ReachOut Pro and the ReachOut teachers network there is currently some capacity for professionals and teachers to talk to each other, and we will have discussions open about a particular subject and they will be talking to each other. But, as Helen said, it is all text based at the moment; you cannot do anything more interactive or interesting than that. If you are isolated in a regional community, being able to see someone makes such a difference. But we just cannot offer it at the moment.

Mr NEVILLE: Do you use VoIP and one-on-one counselling as well—not just texting? Do you actually use live transmission?

Mr Hosie : We do not. We do not deliver online counselling. The way ReachOut works is to engage, in particular, young people who do not yet realise they need help. A good way to think about it is young people who are not yet service ready. They are experiencing difficulties but they have not put it together in their head that they are experiencing difficulties and they need help. Then we really act as a kind of funnel to other clinical support services if young people need it. So our model is far more based around peer support and increasing mental health literacy, and then we will send young people to other places.

Mr NEVILLE: But Helen said she talks to people and this brightens up her day and so on. How do you make the initial assessment that you have to engage with them?

Ms Stace : We do not make that initial assessment. The young people come on to the forums and it is their choice to drive that engagement. We are not assessing them and their needs and delivering them a personalised clinical intervention; we are a support service.

Mr NEVILLE: Give us a typical case. A young guy or girl rings up or tries to make contact. They are down; they are thinking of suicide or whatever. What are the steps you take? Just take us through a typical case.

Mr Hosie : Young people access our service online; they are not phoning us or coming in. As Helen said, they might google something. Their Google result will—

Mr NEVILLE: Do they go direct to your website?

Mr Hosie : That is right. We also have a presence on social media, so sometimes they come via Facebook, YouTube and other channels.

Mr NEVILLE: We are just looking at it now, yes.

Mr Hosie : So, as you can see, they google and that will come up.

Ms Stace : The internet works in Parliament House; that is good.

Mr Hosie : They will self-select. Young people tell us that one of the difficulties they have with counselling is they feel like they are giving up control. They go into something and they do not really know what happens then.

Mr NEVILLE: So you give them options.

Mr Hosie : Here they can go, 'I'm interested in reading a fact sheet' or 'I want to go straight into a forum and talk to other young people.' They go in and then self-select the things they think will be helpful to them, and engage that way.

Mr NEVILLE: Is that a text forum?

Mr Hosie : The forum is text, yes.

Mr NEVILLE: The whole point of you appearing before this committee is that you must see higher speed broadband or fibre broadband being able to improve the quality of your service. So take us to the next step in the event of ubiquitous high-speed broadband.

Ms Stace : This picks up on trends that have probably been laid before you before. Video is obviously going to become ubiquitous with high-speed broadband, and two-way video and group based video. One of the things young people tell us is that the ability to connect to other young people and find support through those communities is a very empowering act on their part and one that they feel very in control of and is a very comfortable step for them to take. So uniting individuals across disparate geographical regions and bringing them together is something we get very excited about in regard to broadband. At the moment the forums are text based and they are very time specific because we have to make sure that they are highly moderated—which will need to continue to happen—

Mr NEVILLE: If you had the right speeds and connections could you get to a chat-room type experience for young people?

Ms Stace : Yes, exactly. One of the concepts behind broadband services is that it is always on. In that sense, for people accessing the service, the service is always on and available and their ability to access it is always on and available. Sustained access is really important. On the point about video, at the moment they are dropping in and out depending on the speeds and the load at the current time. One of the things that would prevent us from taking that step at the moment is that if we are going to offer that service to young people, because of their needs and because they may be in high distress when they are accessing the service we need to ensure that it is stable, accessible, always on and ubiquitous—that it can be distributed to young people wherever they are in Australia.

Mr Hosie : I can give an example. We are doing a project with Lifeline at the moment. Young people come in and use our service, and if they do want to speak to someone straightaway they can click on a button that opens a chat window with a Lifeline counsellor—it sends them straight there. If they then need further support the Lifeline counsellor will send them back to us. That is all text based at the moment. It would be amazing if, in the future, you could click on the button in order to open a personal face-to-face video chat.

Mr NEVILLE: So that is where you are heading. Do you know what speed you will need for that?

Mr Hosie : I do not have that knowledge.

Mr NEVILLE: Have your technical people said that to you?

Ms Stace : No, not specifically. But we look at the broadband and the speeds the broadband is promising and they seem well within the range of being able to offer that type of service.

Mr NEVILLE: You have read the terms of reference. What is your recommendation to us? How can we better help you deliver that face-to-face service that is the next step?

Ms Stace : The ubiquity of the internet is really important, and the broadband service. I think the full social power of the NBN will only be realised once we have the pipes and the direct connections. But it is not only that. It is educating young people and facilitating access via a distribution of laptops in poorly disadvantaged communities. It is also digital literacy campaigns which invite young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and teach them the skills they need to get online and prevent that digital divide from dividing any further.

CHAIR: If young people come from a disadvantaged family that may not have computer access at home, where would most of them be going? Are they likely to use libraries, for example?

Ms Stace : Yes. We know from some of the work we have done with disadvantaged communities in Melbourne that young people will find a way to get online. If they do not have it in the home they will find it in the library or in the school. The issue with that is that some of the access can be restricted; they may not have full access to all that the internet has to offer. Also for them it is not always on so it is not something they can access if, for example, they are in distress and need help now. It would be very difficult for them to get that access out of hours.

CHAIR: It is useful to us because we have had a submission from the library association, who will be appearing later today, who make that point. I just wanted to take the opportunity for you to give us that information.

Ms Stace : We know that most young people accessing our forums access them later at night, from about 6 pm onwards. So providing access points at those times of the day when they are feeling like they need support is going to be really important.

Mr STEPHEN JONES: What do you say to the proposition that this is all pretty cool but does it replace face-to-face human contact in real time?

Ms Stace : My philosophy is that the internet is a displacer, not a replacer, meaning that it will complement and enhance what people are doing already but it does not stop what people are doing already. I certainly see—not now but in the future—that the ability to deliver a highly interactive multimedia-rich interaction could potentially, one day, begin to replace face-to-face engagement with a health provider. But that is probably quite a long way off. In the shorter term it is an enriching experience for young people, and certainly for young people who do not have access I think something is better than nothing.

Mr Hosie : Certainly for young people where there may not be face-to-face services in their community, being able to give them something that is as close as possible to a face-to-face service but is delivered via technology is a massive step forward. The other thing, as I mentioned in my opening remarks, is that many young people are not comfortable about going to a service but are much more comfortable online—even if you use that as effectively a pathway into more clinical care. We would argue that it is a part of the overall mental health response; it is not one or the other or one being better than the other. But if you are going to have a comprehensive mental health response that delivers high-quality services to everyone, regardless of where they live and how much insight they have, you need all of these different components. An e-mental health component is good for getting people into services and getting services to people where there are not face-to-face services.

Miss Pepper : It is not only in areas where services are not available for face-to-face contact. I know a lot of people in metro areas where they do have access to counsellors, psychologists, doctors and those kinds of services choose the internet over those things. They might only know that there is a GP. It might be a family GP who they have seen for years. They do not want to be judged by that family GP, so they will go online instead and be anonymous in these text-based forums at the moment, and then that can build up to something online that can be—it is all about building up the trust. Walking into somebody else's space is hugely different from staying in your own space and only sharing the parts of you that you want to share.

Mr STEPHEN JONES: The provision of health services and the ubiquity of those services has notoriously gone hand in hand with the desire to put in place some regulation around quality control. If we are encouraging the development of health services through online media, how do we ensure that there is the same level of quality control that you might have with the traditional bricks-and-mortar and gold shingle approach to health care? How do we get around those issues? Do you have any experiences or suggestions for the committee on those issues?

Ms Stace : It is possible that providing services online is more trackable from a quality of delivery perspective than offline, if only because you have a data record of every interaction and what has happened. I also think the internet is incredibly empowering from a consumer perspective.

Mr STEPHEN JONES: I agree with you on the point that it is trackable. But how do you know anything about the quality of that portal in the first place?

Ms Stace : You would have to put in checks and balances and some kinds of high-level service guarantees. That is possible. The NHS in England with NHS Choices and NHS Direct has very high service level standards when it comes to its internet and how that service has to be stable, backed up and online 24/7—I think it is only allowed .05 per cent down time a year. So you can build those service level contracts in. It is expensive but it is possible.

Mr STEPHEN JONES: I get that as well. But from a user perspective if I google 'I'm feeling sad' how can I work out which of the 30 hits I get in my search is a quality online service provider and which one is not.

Mr Hosie : A lot of research tells us that not just young people but adults as well tend to value peer reviewed opinions over an authority saying that x or y is a good service. Certainly something that we are increasingly building into ReachOut is the capacity for young people to flag that they really like something or they really do not like something. Increasingly we want to do that with services as a whole.

CHAIR: Aram, do you see value in government considering providing through the department of health some sort of peer reviewed portal where people can go and look at the variety of services? We do it with travel through a particular portal. Could government provide some sort of moderation so that if you are a general member of the community, as Mr Jones describes, who googles and wonders which results are reliable you can go to that government health website and see not the government telling you but people peer reviewing the websites. Does it happen anywhere at the moment in the health sector?

Mr Hosie : I do not believe there is currently a website that does that. ReachOut Pro, which is directed at professionals, has a list of online interventions—some different therapy programs and services—and they are peer reviewed. There are reviews from other professionals and also reviews from young people about their experience of using the intervention. So in ReachOut Pro we have that on a smallish scale. I am not aware of a bigger website that does that. Helen can probably speak to it better than I can. I think adults would particularly like a kind of government branded service that brings it all together. I do not know whether young people would go straight there or would rather listen to their peers.

Miss Pepper : What I want to say is a bit—

CHAIR: You can be blunt, Helen.

Miss Pepper : Okay. I would not go to a government website to find mental health services. Essentially that portal was Google, for me. I just typed in 'depression'. It comes up with beyondblue, youth beyondblue,, headspace, Lifeline and those kinds of things. Essentially you do your own research. You go onto those things and find out what they are offering. As I said, I wanted to find out whether there was something wrong with me. Beyondblue has components of its website where it has quizzes you take like the DAS, the Depression and Anxiety Survey, to see where you stand. Then they make recommendations—you could go to this, this, this and this. And they all overlap; they all mention each other's sites. It is not like they are solely on their own and you have to go to one or the other. ReachOut is an online support peer network, mostly, with stories, fact sheets and blogs; headspace also has stories and fact sheets; beyondblue is more around facts and is where adults might go. It is more like defining your own—

CHAIR: I suppose what is in our minds, and I would be interested in your perspective on this, is that the search engines may be better at driving quality returns for mental health but if you search for a physical symptom you can often get a whole lot of drug company websites, for example. Often people are looking through these and not particularly knowing—in fact one doctor said that if you google any symptom you have cancer, according to the internet, and that is a real issue. I am aware that many young people end up through anxiety and depression also getting hypochondria and so forth because of the poor quality of those sorts of returns on those searches.

Mr STEPHEN JONES: The question is if we want to encourage, and certainly I do, a greater level of services online for people to access, how do we at the same time ensure, particularly if we are funding and assisting and therefore have some responsibility for what is out there, that there is some quality control for end users so they know that something is—I am not saying it has to have the government crest on it but there needs to be some mechanism so that an end user is not relying on the algorithms in Google to generate quality control.

Mr Hosie : From a government perspective it is about looking for services can prove an evidence base behind what they are doing. It is not so hard to open a forum online and give support, but what is the evidence base underneath that? Have you done an evaluation showing that this works? How does it work? Who is using it? What is the underlying evidence base? For government making funding decisions certainly you would want to be looking for organisations that can prove what they are doing. The idea of government having a place where they say, 'Here are the services we fund and here are the reasons why we fund them because they are trusted' seems like a sensible way to gather that information together.

Miss Pepper : I think the media does an amazing job at making it like a—beyondblue in particular has been advertised a heck of a lot and that makes it a legitimate service in a lot of people's minds because it gets media coverage. It is on the sides of buses, you see it in your everyday life; it is okay to refer to beyondblue. Headspace is becoming like that but a lot of people have not heard of it., because it is online, is really unknown unless you are in the community itself. So I think the media can play a huge part in legitimising these kinds of services.

CHAIR: Or exposing those that are delegitimised.

Miss Pepper : Yes but I would want to focus on the positive ones.

CHAIR: I appreciate that.

Mrs PRENTICE: I would like to start by congratulating Inspire on the work you do. It really is wonderful, and in such a needy area too. It is a great website. I was looking through it. You have an area called 'Special projects', but you do not have any currently. Are they delivered online or are they a physical involvement? What do you mean by special projects?

Ms Stace : We are launching a section of our site in four weeks time called 'Get involved'. Specifically, what that is driving is projects that young people can get directly involved in. They can recommend their own projects that they would like to do either in their local community or more broadly on the internet. The last special project we ran was a bullying campaign, which was driven by our user base. They wanted to do something about bullying in their local communities.

Mrs PRENTICE: My next question was on the increase in cyberbullying. Can you address that as well?

Ms Stace : Cyberbullying is an issue for young people. Part of our philosophy at the Inspire Foundation is that the internet is an irresistible force, but you also need to educate young people about privacy rights and bullying. I think also that privacy is a real issue that young people need to be educated on. It is a bit like crossing the road—it puts you at risk, so you have to look left and look right. Certainly privacy is an issue. For young people suffering from distress and problems, do they want to publish all of that on the internet in perpetuity? I think they are two big issues facing young people today.

Mrs PRENTICE: What was the outcome of that project you did on bullying?

Mr Hosie : We are actually running the bullying campaign in conjunction with the Human Rights Commission and it has a general tagline of 'Stand up, don't stand by'. It mobilises particularly Facebook and YouTube, getting young people to submit messaging on ideas and tips to share with other young people and that was then going to be voted on by peers. It is about engaging people and thinking about how they would respond to bullying. Then those tips and ideas are shared with other young people. There is that incentive to get involved, because there is a voting system and prizes at the end of it. I can get back to you with more information about the exact details, but if I remember correctly they—

CHAIR: If you want to just give us a little information, that would be a great example for us.

Mr Hosie : I am pretty sure that the messages are then going to go out on actual collateral that is to be shared with people, so it is very much that you will end up with a campaign of information for young people to use which has been generated by young people online.

Ms Stace : And it is all about driving that online community—getting young people to sign up for a campaign that they have driven, which encourages them to take action online when they see bullying happening online.

Mrs PRENTICE: You mentioned 14 to 25, but there is no way of controlling that, really, is there?

Mr Hosie : No. We can certainly see that, of the people coming through our website, we have far more than 450,000. But 450,000 is the 14 to 25 component of it.

CHAIR: This is tremendous evidence for us in terms of looking at a real-life, useful example and where it could go with the new technology. Inspire Foundation, and Helen as an ambassador, I think have given us a very profound and real understanding of the challenges and opportunities of the online capacity. Thank you for your attendance here today. You will be sent a copy of the transcript of your evidence to which you can make corrections of grammar and fact. The transcript will also guide you on any additional information that you undertook to provide. It would be appreciated if you could forward additional information to the secretary as soon as possible, as we are now commencing the process of formulating our report. Once again, thank you very much for your written submission and attendance today to answer our questions.