Facebook wants Central pupils' help

Facebook has turned to a group of Central Otago school pupils to help create new guides encouraging New Zealand children to think about what they share online.

The online guides, which will be available on Facebook New Zealand's page, will be launched in Cromwell next week.

The guides ''Think before you share: hit pause then post'' and ''Help a friend in need'', were created with the help of Central Otago anti-cyberbullying group Sticks'n Stones.

They will be presented at a workshop for 100 high school pupils from the Central Otago region at Cromwell and Districts Presbyterian Church next Wednesday, and a public workshop in Clyde for parents will follow that evening.

Sticks'n Stones project facilitator Karla Sanders, from Alexandra, said having the launch in Cromwell was ''pretty exciting''.

The guides would teach pupils to think about what they ''put out there'' on social media and the impact it might have on themselves or others.

The guides would also help them to recognise the warning signs from friends who might be depressed or having problems, she said.

Mrs Sanders said pupils would also be taught that what was posted by friends or people they looked up to was only one part of that person's life.

It was easy to get caught up with following friends or celebrities on social media and feel down about it, but it did not show the full story, she said.

Facebook Australia New Zealand director of policy Mia Garlick said when Facebook became aware of the Sticks'n Stones project, it decided to approach the Central Otago group about creating guides for a New Zealand audience.

''When you talk about online safety, we want to make sure we have a youth voice,'' Ms Garlick said.

The social media company launched similar guides in Australia with anti-bullying group Project Rockit last year.

Speakers at the Cromwell workshop would include Central Otago Mayor Tony Lepper, Ms Garlick, and Project Rockit founders Rosy and Lucy Thomas.

Following the workshops, the guides will be promoted on the Facebook New Zealand page.

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