Anti-bullying app launched in pre-school

By Ani-Oriwia Adds

An anti-bullying app for pre-school children has just been released and the first to try it out were children at an Auckland pre-school. The Moe book app aims to teach kids about bullying using an interactive story and game.

Māori company Kiwa Digital's new anti-bullying digital interactive story app was released this week and introduced to kids all over the country.

Kiwa Digital CEO Steven Renata says, “Bullying is a national issue that affects tamariki and rangatahi in all aspects of society and what we’re trying to do here is take the story the narrative and put it into a digital format that allows the tamariki to explore the content  in their own way, It has interactive text so that when you swipe the text it actually reads back to you a bit like a caregiver, or mum and dad reading you a story, and there’s also a great game at the end of it, a memory game that allows them to play and stay engaged with the app experience themselves.”

The app is the brainchild of Jeremy Dillon in partnership with NZ on Air and Kiwa Digital. The app aims to educate children about the issues of bullying from an early age.

ECE teacher Rebecca Ward says, “Children are developing their social competency skills and through this they’re learning initially to work with one or two other children and gradually their skills become better and they become more competent using their communication skills and reading each other’s language and through an app like this it can support them to read other people’s body language facial expressions and to learn about what the word bulling means and how to react to that.”

Soon the app will have a special Māori translation.

“At the moment the app is in English, and New Zealand sign language and were thrilled to be able to have that third official language in our app, were also looking at seeking further funding for Te Reo Māori to give it that cultural aspect as well, and looking forward to getting that shared a downloaded through all the kura throughout the country that will be done through social media campaigns and so forth but the best place for us to trial out is with these guys today and the reaction has been amazing,” says Ward.

Although the children say that they don't know what bullying is yet, they like the story and especially like the game.