Livewire has recently been launched; it is a site for young people with health conditions or disabilities. The site provides the opportunity for other people with the same or similar conditions to chat and connect.
Cinnamon, the marketing director for Livewire explained that "Livewire was set up by the Starlight Foundation because they realised that teenagers need something different to children. The Starlight Foundation has been granting wishes for 20 years" but they needed something different for "teenagers to be able to connect as they understand they spend a significant amount of time on the internet" that the internet would be a great way to do it. "Livewire is an online community, which is safe and secure with social networking tools," like forums, games, photos, chat and you can create your own profile with your own username.
The website is aimed at 10-21 year olds and is split into three groups because Livewire understands that these age groups need different content. The three groups are: 10-14, 15-17 and 18+.
The chat room has trained chat hosts, most of which are young and have come out of social work or teaching, they know what the groups are interested in and handpick appropriate content for the groups.
Check out Livewire for more information: www.livewire.com.au
Annie is a member of the Livewire Network and she talked about her hobbies and what she enjoyed about Livewire:
How old are you?Annie
What do you like most about Livewire? Annie
: Talking to others who suffer illness and have been through the same illnesses so they understand what it is like and understand when I whinge about it.
How did you discover Livewire? Annie
: I was asked to be involved in the pilot (where Livewire tested the website) after my Starlight Children's wish was granted. My wish was for my family to visit my cousins in Perth. Because there are six members of my family this doesn't happen very often and we got given tickets to the zoo and went on horse riding lessons. Because I love horses.
Who have you met on Livewire? Annie
: A whole lot of people! My username is crazypig and I have a friend who's user name is spiderpig so we call each other the pig sisters, it is fun to joke around with people.
I hear you're into fashion? What sort of fashion do you like? Who is your fashion inspiration? Annie
: I began studying textiles at school and that is how I got into fabrics. I recently participated in a quilt lesson on the holidays. So I made a quilt. I really enjoy reading fashion magazines. I love Collette Dinnigan because she has beautiful lacey and flowing items.
What do you do on Livewire? Annie
: I read other peoples blogs and write my own blog about what has been going on at school and what assignments I have. I also play games and read the Livewire news.
Grace was a part of a program similar to Livewire when she was growing up and was too ill to attend school; the program was based in the Royal Children's Hospital and helped her with her confidence and self esteem because she thought she was alone. Being around others with similar experiences meant other understood what it was like to have months off school and not have many friendships. Grace was able to talk to someone about everyday issues, that no-one else understood, like not feeling like a teenager and not being able to do what your other friends could, whilst talking about every day things like movies and music. This network meant Grace didn't feel alone. Together the group went to the movies and sporting nights as an apart of the social committee. The group taught the members to have confidence in their medical issues and not try and hide. Once Grace began full time work she found it had to commit so she gave the group up. However, Grace says she will "definitely look into volunteering in the future".
Interview by Brooke Hunter