New app to phase out cyber bullying

Sticks ‘n Stones, a teen-led charity, has launched a free web app to help young people dealing with online negativity and harm.

With the support of the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation, Netsafe and New Zealand Police, ICON (In Case of Online Negativity) was co-designed and created by teens and Sticks ‘n Stones’ members across New Zealand.

ICON project manager Keryn Tubbs says, “ICON has been created with the belief that young people can make good decisions for themselves, provide they have good information to start with.”

Tubbs also says, “It offers comprehensive solutions, guides you in your decision and empowers you with the right information you need to take action.”

Sticks ‘n Stones CEO, Karla Sanders adds that bullying is linked to negative outcomes which include loss of confidence and self-esteem, poor mental health and drug or alcohol misuse or abuse.

"We created ICON to help young people help themselves early on before things go really wrong. It's a positive, non-judgmental, easy and intuitive option that will help them make decisions, move forward and get on with their lives."

Tubbs says ICON was not created as a replacement tool for other existing services but more so a starting point for those teens who have no clue where to go or who to talk too.

ICON is also a way for people to seek help not only when things go wrong, but before they go wrong.

“If it stops one young person from feeling alone and not knowing what they can do then that is awesome,” Tubbs concludes.