What is My Circle?
Kids Helpline’s My Circle is a private and secure social network for young people to chat to other young people 24hrs a day for support. This service is being evaluated as part of a research project led by Dr Andrew Campbell at the University of Sydney.
The aim of My Circle is to help young people going through different types of problems to provide support to each other.
An experienced Kids Helpline moderator will be part of each group too to help ensure safe, respectful and helpful conversation among group members.
Pseudonyms and Anonymity
To help young people feel safe and supported enough to talk about themselves, My Circle has been designed to be anonymous. For this reason, all group members have been given pseudonyms to use instead of their real names. To help keep your information private and safe, we discourage contact among each other outside the group – and also require you to not share private information about yourself or material that could be used to identify you.
Behaviour and Content
As My Circle is intended to be for support, it is important to be respectful of all members’ points of view; refrain from personal attacks on other users, and; use the service safely. As a general guideline, Kids Helpline will remove any posts which conflict with these general rules:
- Are likely to be offensive to other group members
- Are likely to cause harm or distress to other group members
- Are racist, sexist, homophobic or discriminatory in any way
- Use obscene or graphic sexual language
- Contain or promote inaccurate, inappropriate or harmful advice (e.g., blaming or shaming someone for their depression)
- Positively discuss methods of self-harm, suicide, eating restriction or weight restriction
- Discusses alcohol or substance use in an unbalanced way (e.g., does not refer to the negative effects)
- Take a dogmatic approach, stating that there is only ‘one way’ to do or think about a situation
- Are defamatory or overly critical of services or organisations designed to provide help and support to others
- Are posted for commercial purposes, such as promoting organisations, products, services, events, competitions or information irrelevant to the post or the purpose of the group
- Can be used to personally identify you (e.g., selfies, sharing your full name)
If any situations arise where there is a conflict for one of the above reasons, or another reason that has not been listed, the members involved in the conflict will be privately messaged by a Kids Helpline moderator with our concerns. The members involved in the conflict may be temporarily blocked during this time. We will try to resolve the conflict by talking to the individual – and other group members – to try to come to a mutual resolution.
My Circle is supposed to be for supporting each other. If there is ongoing conflict from the same member that cannot be resolved, a Kids Helpline moderator may be required to permanently remove that member. If this happens, they will be exited from the group and if possible replaced with someone who is willing to use the group in a respectful and safe way.
Safety & Duty of Care
In some situations, if Kids Helpline have concerns about your safety, we may try to contact you to check that you and/or others are safe, or we may need to pass on your contact information to someone who can help protect you, and/or others, such as a crisis service or the police. Our preferred way to do this would be to support you to seek help, rather than us doing it for you.
There are three main situations in which we have a legal need to try to protect you and/or others. You will be considered potentially unsafe if information you share with Kids Helpline suggests that:
- You are being seriously hurt by someone else
- You are thinking of seriously hurting yourself, or
- You are thinking of seriously hurting someone else
Kids Helpline moderators will try to check the group as often as possible, to see how things are going. But they won’t be able to check the group every day and at all hours of the day, especially not between 10pm and 8am. So if a conflict or emergency situation comes up in the group and a Kids Helpline moderator has not responded within a reasonable amount of time, it is important that a member make contact with a counsellor at Kids Helpline to report this issue, so that we can attend to the issue quickly.
Please note that Kids Helpline recognises that sometimes people need immediate help and support. My Circle cannot provide you with specific counselling or crisis services. If you need immediate assistance please call Kids Helpline on: 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on: 13 11 14.
If you have a complaint or concerns about how the study is being run, then please contact the manager of ethics administration at The University of Sydney by emailing [email protected] or phoning (02) 8627 8176 and citing the name of the study and its protocol number (Efficacy Trial of Kids Helpline Circles: A Secure Online Social Network for Young People, protocol number: 2016/132).