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Care and support for young people

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Enabling young people to thrive

Children and young people today have greater access to information and resources than any other generation in history. However, in young hands and minds, rather than being helpful, sometimes this ease of access can feel like a barrage of ideas, opinions and perspectives that ultimately have a negative effect on wellbeing. It leads those of us who care for and support young people to continue to ask the question: How can we enable young people to thrive? 

In this episode of Helping Hands, Laura Bennett is joined by youth worker and online gamer, Kiran Skariah: psychologist, Collett Smart: and teacher, Sarah Crawford; to discuss how we can create environments for young people to be their best at home, at school, in social circles and online. 

Of the many excellent points and suggestions made during the discussion, our panellists agree that one of the primary focuses when supporting children and young people is to ensure that they feel safe. Sarah Crawford addresses how she achieves this for the young people in her care within the school environment, saying that it’s important for children to be able to name a trusted adult in whose company they feel safe. 

“Ask them to name safe people... Often in a primary school environment, because they consistently have the one teacher, it might be that one teacher (who is their safe person), ... it’s really important that the children know that there is a safe adult that they can go and speak to at all times.” 

Kiran Skariah links the safety a young person feels with their willingness to express themselves and to be open. Drawing on his experiences of having intentionally created an online gaming environment which is safe for young people in every aspect from function to the type of language used, he explains that the right online environment allows young people to feel cared for and supported. 

“A big part of it is being really intentional with all the decisions that we make, from top down … Different personalities will come out in different ways … The people who are (in person) really quiet in nature … when in the online mode, are sometimes the most conversational of the group. Get them in a mode where they’re not making eye contact necessarily, and they’re able to type, and then they get to really just open up and be themselves.’ 

Collett Smart agrees and explains that the success of Kiran’s online environment is linked to the fact that a supportive and caring community exists within it for the young people who enjoy its environment, and emphasises the importance of discovering whatever the right community is in which your child can express themselves and feel supported. 

‘We have these children with all different abilities or disabilities. Some children might love the online gaming world, and then we need to get them into safe spaces online … For some of our kids it might be sport, or it might be music, or it might be art. For some of our kids, the place that they find their tribe is not necessarily school.’ 

Collett reminds viewers that, while ever our children and young people are still growing towards independence, they need the safe adults in their lives to care for and support them through guidance towards the safe environments and communities that will help them be their best at home, at school, in social circles and online. 

With our help to access communities and healthy ways of self-expression, it’s exciting to see the ways in which the next generation of Australia’s leaders and decision-makers can be enabled to thrive. 


See the CARE AND SUPPORT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE discussion and the full catalogue of Helping Hands panels at Catch up on full episodes of Helping Hands on 9NOW 

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* Our panellists, Collett, Kiran and Sarah, and the Helping Hands producers are available for interview on radio, TV and online to discuss this topic. Get in touch at 


#helpinghandstvau #makingtheworldabetterplace #paneldiscussion #caringforyoungpeople #supportingyoungpeople #safetyforyoungpeople #supportingchildren #supportingteens #enablingkidstothrive #raisingteens #collettsmart #kiranskariah #sarahcrawford #pastorskar 

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