Online safety advice from Harold the Giraffe

Harold the Giraffe is teaming up with Noel Leeming to to offer online safety advice. Supplied photo.

In a tech-driven world where Kiwi kids seem to navigate smartphones and tablets as effortlessly as riding a bike, the responsibility of buying a child's first device has become a significant challenge for parents.

As parents grapple with the decision, Noel Leeming is stepping up to demystify the process and help kids stay safe online.

“It's not just about the tech anymore; it's about having the right information to have those conversations with kids around having a positive experience online,” says Noel Leeming Lead Tanya Atkinson.

“Buying a kid's first device is a big deal, but a daunting task for parents too – particularly around Back to School where laptops and devices are as common on school stationery lists as pens and exercise books.”

With the alarming rise of online bullying, distraction, and early exposure to explicit content, the need for a holistic approach to online safety has never been more critical.

Recent research from Life Education reveals that 60 per cent of primary school leaders see online bullying as a prevalent issue, and the New Zealand Classification Office says a quarter of young people have encountered explicit images by the age of 12.

Recognising a growing trend where parents seek advice from retailers on online safety, Noel Leeming has teamed up with Harold and Life Education Trust to educate its team members to empower both parents and their tech-savvy offspring.

“We're here to help set up children safely on their newly purchased devices. Our team is trained to guide parents through the process, ensuring they understand the potential risks and know how to protect their kids.

“Our team has undergone training to provide the best support possible. Our partnership with Life Education is invaluable. They are the experts in this field, and a trusted household name. It's fantastic for our customers and helps us be passionate experts.”

As part of this initiative, Noel Leeming has introduced Harold's Tech Tips, available for download from its website.

This resource is designed for children to work through with parents/whānau, guiding them in establishing healthy device habits from the get-go.

Customers can contribute to the cause by donating in-store, with all funds Life Education Trust, who teach students about staying safe and positive online as part of their Healthy Harold programme.

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