SuperClubsPLUS – kids having fun and keeping safe online
SuperClubsPLUS is like no other cybersafety intervention. It really is unique. It offers children the chance to do all they might want to do on Facebook but in a protected and safe online environment.
Not only do our registration processes mean that we know with absolute certainty that every child on the site is a ‘real’ child (Disney’s Club Penguin or the ever popular Moshi Monsters can’t say this). But in addition we monitor and review everything children say (emails, forums, chat), publish (web pages) and upload (media) using both a growing team of trained adult moderators and sophisticated filtering technology.
From creating the company and first launching in Australia in 2008, thanks entirely to the funding and foresight of the Telstra Foundation and the early support of the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, we have been able to help mentor, guide and positively change the online behaviours of thousands of young Australian primary school students.
So when four young nine year old girls in a school in regional Victoria decided to continue their insidious exclusion online, of their ‘best friend’ Chloe, deepening their harassment of her in ways only those in the ‘know’ would appreciate our SuperClubsPLUS moderators were able to follow the incident, collect the evidence and engage personally with the perpetrators as well as notifying the school which in turn, called in the parents. These girls just a few weeks after this incident, really did become best friends with Chloe and some six months since all reached ‘mini mediator’ (a highly aspirational and seriously cool peer group on the site) status. Not only this, all four girls created their own ‘Don’t be a Bystander’ anti-bullying campaign which went viral with tens of thousands of children joining around the world.
This covert bullying incident was part of a pattern with these girls. Chloe could never say anything, these other girls were her friends. She would rather suffer in silence. The bullying could never have been caught in another social network, nor in an online school environment. But it is the everyday reality of SuperClubsPLUS, where the positive values and cybersafety culture of the site together with 24/7 moderation of the whole community, ensure that in 95% of cases we are able to positively impact the behaviours of our young members.
Some four years after Telstra Foundation helped us launch the initiative, we now count over 180,000 Australian primary children as enthusiastic and active members across 2,200 Australian schools and together with some 300,000 children world wide. Our 2010-11 research clearly indicated that after 4-6 months of being active on SuperClubsPLUS, the vast majority of children consistently exhibit safer, more resilient and respectful online behaviours. And the signs are that many of these children transfer the same positive behaviours to their other online activities.
Funding will always be a problem for us, in trying to grow our membership in a sustainable way. But we will be forever thankful to the Telstra Foundation, to their board and particularly to their executive, in giving us the start up funding and support we needed. Without the Telstra Foundation there would be no SuperClubsPLUS in Australia, let alone across the globe. And hundreds of thousands of young children would not have had the benefits of our unique behaviour changing system.
I’d like to finish in the voice of three of our young superclubbers.
First from Sarah, 13
To me SCP means escaping whatever has happened in my day and just laughing and talking with friends. Sometimes I have homework which I should be doing, but SCP is a much better alternative (; I may have had a horrible day at school, however regularly friends are online for me to talk to and since I’m a Tech Team member it means a lot to me to be part of something and feel special and like I belong. I love helping people and being able to help other children and work with the mediators I find is really wonderful.
.. and from Emma, 9
Superclubsplus means a lot to me because, I have learned about cyberbully and all those things what not to say. Also my sister has a email address and I tought her about what not to do and she sends polite emails to people off Superclubsplus. It’s a huge opportunity to be lucky enough to even be able to log on.
.. and finally from Kelley, 7
The reason i like super clubs plus is because i get to mace new friends and enter lots of compotishens,i also love it because i get to tell people how im feeling and i get to poot my favrot things on my home page, super clubs has made me be so much more aware of how dangerous some sights can be and how easily you could be bulled.Its mad my confident’s more stronger and more awer of ciber safety and lots more. THANK YOU SUPER CLUBS PLUS.