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Kids Help Line (KHL) strategic vision.

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Mission statement of Kids Help Line (KHL): "Kids Help Line exists to assist people to develop strategies and skills which enable them to more effectively manage their own lives." (KHL info sheet p1) Kids Help Line (KHL) strategic vision recognises that young people have the fastest uptake of new technologies and that the development of innovative ways in delivery of service methods is necessary to facilitate help seeking. (REF Richard) The online email and web counselling service for KHL commenced in 2000 to accommodate the growing trends between young people and technology and in 2003 counsellors responded to 6,476 webcounselling clients, 3,331 more than 2002. (ref online couselling ifo sheet 27). It has become a valuable tool for communication with young Australians, and thus contributes significantly to research and information services within KHL. Access to the internet has increased dramatically over the past 10 years with 59% of all Australian households with children under the age of 15 owning a computer with internet access, an increase of almost a 40% since 1998. (NOEI) The National Office for Information Economy (2003) in June last year recorded 82% of 14 to 17 year olds using the internet and 85% of these children were accessing the internet from home. The rate of internet use decreases the younger a child is, yet 47% of 5-14 year olds are using the worldwide web. ...read more.


Psychological reasoning such as this poses many new questions in psychology and establishments that practice counselling. Feedback from KHL clients indicates that web counselling gives young people a greater sense of control allowing them to disclose more severe problems than they would otherwise disclose (REF rich). The reasons for help seeking and the severity of the problems in web counselling are substantially different to that of KHL tele counselling service. Young people are five times more likely to seek help for mental health, suicide and eating behaviiour issues and twice as likely to seek help for issues of sexual assult and sexual orientation. (Talor 2001) Consequently, web counselling can be defined as providing new communication technology for KHL that benefits the organisation by being able to tap into its client base at a deeper level and access new information. Differences can be noted below. Web Phone Gender 83% female 72% female Age: 5-9 years 10-14 15-18 0.4% 25.7% 73.9% 6.9% 54.7% 38.3% Metropolitan Location 86% 64.5% Problem types: Mental Health Suicide Sexual Abuse Eating Behaviours Peer relationships Family relationships 14% 7.5% 6.8% 4.5% 18.6% 10.9% 3.1% 1.7% 1.9% 0.6% 11.6% 16.9% A question may be asked whether or not web counselling is suitable for these certain types of clients? Can KHL fulfil their objectives of empowering clients through a method of web chat? ...read more.


Web chat rooms occur in real time likening interaction to that of conversation. When a child contacts KHL they may just want initial contact to help identify their problem or perhaps ask for a referral to seek other treatment or support groups. However, web counselling is predominantly used by young people for crisis intervention when an immediate response is required. Web chat is still acceptable as real time response confronts this issue. Web counselling is reacting to the growing environmental trends and market pressures that demand communication over the internet (REF). If young people are communicating through chat rooms, why not counsel though one? Web chat in web counselling opens up further avenues in quality counselling for children. As a strategic system, web counselling offers improved customer service by broadening its appeal to young people by promoting innovation and creativity and a move towards empowering of clients through effective counselling. (REF TURBAN). However, there are many issues to consider that accompany this market demand and will effectively impact on KHL strategic goals. Another perceived benefit of web counselling is that of being in an environment where the child feels comfortable to communicate. The ethical issues that challenge web counsellors principally relate to confidentiality, privacy and cyber stalking. According to Hackerman and Greer (in Taylor 2001) "counselors are likely to encounter certain types of people who are attracted to the internet due to the ability to remain anonymous, such as paedophiles, sexual monochists, and those with pathological personality types." ...read more.

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