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A drama-crime-comedy-online-web-series - DIA

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A new TV series to help young Kiwis navigate one of the great mysteries of the 21st century - the internet - has just gone live.

The six-part mini-series is called The Eggplant.

"Online harms addressed in The Eggplant include bullying, using pornography to learn about sex, grooming by people they don’t know and sending and receiving nudes," says Trina Lowry, Manager Design Engagement and Innovation.

The series is produced by creative agency Motion Sickness for Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs.

"At DIA we have a role in helping keep people, especially young people, safe online. The harms our young people face can lead to feelings of vulnerability, isolation, depression and anxiety and, in some cases, can lead to physical harm offline," says Trina. "A public awareness campaign like this is needed as the nature and type of online harms that our young people are exposed to are dynamic and evolving quickly. The mini-series raises awareness of the online issues young people may face and encourages them to reach out to someone they trust and get the support they need."

The Eggplant follows the success of the Keep it Real Online campaign aimed at parents and caregivers.

"The initial campaign, featuring porn stars, an online groomer, two imaginary rabbits and a young girl being bullied, reached 870,000 New Zealand parents and caregivers and was viewed 32 million times world-wide. It resulted in a lot of conversations about the harms our young people face online," says Trina.

"Not everyone will get the eggplant reference, and that’s okay. Young people get it, and the mini-series was developed with them and for them."

The Eggplant launches today on TVNZ OnDemand and YouTube. It stars some very talented young people, Kiwi icons Karen O'Leary (Wellington Paranormal) and Tammy Davis (Outrageous Fortune) and a few other familiar faces.

The campaign is led by DIA with support from Netsafe, the Ministry of Education and the Office of Film and Literature Classification in consultation with youth advisory groups.

Next year, the final phase of the campaign launches, which is aimed at keeping children safe online.

Young people can find more information and tips on how to deal with online issues at www.keepitrealonline.govt.nz/youth.

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