Technology is part of our lives nowadays, and it is important we teach children how to use it responsibly, says cyber safety expert John Parsons.

John holds workshops with students, parents, teachers, health professionals, police and victims of cyber crime on various internet relevant topics. He is also the author of book called Keeping your Children Safe Online.

John was in Taranaki last month, talking to students about the importance of cyber safety as well as giving presentations to teachers.

John gave a presentation at Stratford Primary, attended by pupils from other schools as well. He said we all live in one world and when we use a device it is an extension of our world, not a different world.


John says the language adults use when talking about technology needs to change. This is to help children realise that technology is an aspect of their life and overall wellness, and relationships with others is key to feeling connected and happy.

Michelle Williams, an Educator for Taranaki Life Education Trust says John's face-to-face values-based approach serves to protect children, and serves them well online and off.

Michelle is one of three educators for Taranaki Life Education Trust. She works in schools in mobile classrooms with mascot Harold the giraffe to reach approximately 12,000 students every year across Taranaki from as far North as Mōkau to as far South as Pātea.

"There are myriad technological devices available for children and adults to use today so understanding how to use technology safely and in a way that reflects our personal values and what is important to us, is vital." Michelle says.

Michelle says John is committed to promoting the rights of children to use digital technology safely and ethically.

"As current and future leaders, children can be encouraged and supported when taking ownership of their well-being with the end goal of becoming capable, confident and connected citizens when using technology and when not, ready to safely take on the advantages and challenges the use of technology presents.

"John talked about the power of being kind and he encouraged the children to "dare to care".