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HW & Google

Hector’s World and Google join together to promote digital citizenship for Kiwi kids

New Zealand educational charity Hector’s World™ has joined with Google to create a new online resource, the Hector’s World ‘Tech Cave’, which empowers Kiwi children to teach themselves and their communities about technology.

Hector’s World is a free online teaching and learning resource used in many New Zealand primary schools and early childhood centres to teach ‘digital citizenship’ – the safe and responsible use of technology. 

The new Tech Cave section of will explain how different aspects of technology work, from the internet to mobile phones and GPS systems, equipping children with the tools they need to use technology effectively and safely. The first two Tech Cave modules, about how the internet and search engines work, have been created with the support of Google, as part of the company’s commitment to promote safer online experiences.

Liz Butterfield, Managing Director of Hector’s World, says: “These days our children are starting to use computers as soon as their fingers can reach the keyboard, so it’s important to teach them from the start about how technology works, and how to use it responsibly as they make their way in the online world.

“The Tech Cave offers the opportunity for children to learn in a fun and entertaining way about how particular online technologies work. 

“Importantly, the format also encourages children to engage their families and communities as they complete the lessons. The hope is that if parents and grandparents enjoy the modules themselves, they will pass this on to other family members. Grandparents can be important mentors of very young children, exploring the Hector’s World website together. Sometimes that mentoring can work both ways!”

Ishtar Vij from Google Australia and New Zealand says: “We’re really pleased to be working with Hector’s World to support the launch of the Tech Cave.

“Hector’s World does a tremendous job, and we share their commitment to promoting digital literacy and digital citizenship – qualities that will ensure Kiwi kids are well positioned to take advantage of the benefits of the internet in a smart, safe and responsible way.

“Knowing how technology works is all part of being a capable digital citizen. To be safe on a bicycle, for instance, children first need to know how the pedals and brakes work. Likewise, to be safe on the internet it helps to know how the technology works, which is exactly what the Tech Cave offers.”

The Tech Cave section of Hector’s World is now live at For more on Hector’s World, see

HW wins award

Yesterday, InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) and .au Domain Administration announced the winners of the inaugural Australia and New Zealand Internet Best Practice Awards.

Hector’s World was awarded the Internet Best Practice Award for Best Security Initiative – at the forefront of developing solutions to security threats and building trust and confidence in the online environment.

The awards recognise organisations, businesses, groups and individuals that have made significant contributions towards the security, openness, diversity and accessibility of the Internet. They were launched at the 35th meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Sydney in 2009.

Computer security

Young children can be active in their own defence online

A new animated interactive online resource and music video about computer security skills, produced by Hector’s World, is being launched today by the Hon Nathan Guy, Minister of Internal Affairs.Tama in Computer Security Episode - 'Oops'

Aimed at 5-9 year old aged children, their parents and teachers, the resources offer a foundation of basic computer security skills by introducing young children to topics like viruses and strong passwords.

Privacy Commissioner  Marie Shroff is also enthusiastic about the new resources. “We know from a recent UMR survey that New Zealanders are worried about children’s internet privacy. These are practical tools which will help to keep children safe online.”

“The new resources enable children to play a positive role in keeping their and their family’s information safe when using a computer online. Children can assist with the security of devices where important family information is stored, such as the family computer,” says Ms Shroff.

Liz Butterfield, Hector’s World Managing Director says, “We believe that young children can be active in their own defence online if we give them the skills and knowledge they need.  We know that children even at early primary level are using terms like ‘password’ and ‘downloading’. Yet, without a basic understanding of those concepts children cannot employ simple, proactive strategies to help keep their information secure and protect their computer.  We’ve made this learning process fun – how many songs about computer security can you name with a dance beat like ours?”

Ms Butterfield says, “Some children will enjoy the fun of these new resources and be curious about this subject matter; others will get all of the concepts right away and want to know much more.”

“In this era of online drop-down lists of hacking exploits and ready advice on building botnets, it’s important to channel the capability and talent our children have in a positive direction that benefits themselves, their family and their community. There is an important link between computer security, privacy and digital citizenship and the best place to start laying this foundation is when children are young.”

These new resources were created with a generous grant from the New Zealand Government’s Digital Strategy Community Partnership Fund.

Go to to see the new resources.

Webcams and young children

To help kids stay safe online, Hector’s World has launched a webcam cover for children to use. Kids can download and print the free webcam cover to use with computers at home or school.  Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff with Holly, Ryan Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff with Holly, Ryan and Luke from Northland School with the new webcam covers

Managing Director of Hector’s World Liz Butterfield says, “The cover helps children be aware of the webcam and think about using it before activating the device.”

“Our experience is that many young children using computers aren’t aware of the presence of a webcam, let alone how to manage its use effectively.  This simple paper cover can prompt a valuable discussion between parent and child, or teacher and student, about what a webcam is and how to manage its use safely.”

“Using the cover means the camera becomes ‘default off’, which is best with a young child. We suggest to children: ‘Know when you’re on show’.”

Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff welcomes the new tool. “We know from a recent UMR survey that New Zealanders are worried about children’s internet privacy.  There is a need for continued vigilance to protect children and young people. I recommend children and parents have a look at this new webcam tool.”

The cover is available in a number of designs with Hector’s World characters, and in versions for laptop and desktop webcam models. They can be used as a teaching activity for primary schools and early childhood centres as well.

Ms Butterfield adds, “It’s a fun project to make the webcam cover and turns the use of a webcam into an informed choice. Just simply asking a teacher or caregiver whether it’s okay to remove the cover for an online session is a constructive safety strategy for young children.”

“Computer malware that allows remote control of the webcam, termed ‘webcam capture’ is a reality of the internet, so I won’t be surprised if some adults like the extra security of the cover themselves!”