Both ways mentoring: Improving mental health, resilience and the self-esteem of Indigenous young people in remote communities through innovative mentoring supported by the use of social media.

Paper presented at #husITa14 in Melbourne, Australia, July, 2014.


husITa14 Session

Deirdre Tedmanson (University of South Australia, Australia).


This presentation explores the potential for social media to facilitate social networking opportunities and both ways mentoring, between comparatively privileged urban young people and their peers living in remote Indigenous community contexts. Building social and cultural capital between urban based young people and those living in more remote contexts can also enhance the mental health and social and emotional well-being of young people in both contexts, as well as develop future career pathways while providing safe ‘virtual’ spaces for cross-cultural learning to evolve through bottom-up relationships, rather than top-down instruction.

Indigenous elders who initiated this project approach sought to encompass leadership development, skills building in Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and opportunities for local enterprise development, underpinned by mentoring options between young people from divergent backgrounds through the use of social media. The project draws on work already being undertaken by presenters in developing countries such as South Africa, in which Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and virtual learning environments (VLEs) are being trialed for their capacity to enhance educational and social outcomes in peri-urban and socially disadvantaged remote community contexts. The project draws on models of asset based community development and social entrepreneurship, and is motivated by the need to address Rigney’s (2011) social justice call to human service practitioners to reverse the trend that places Indigenous young people in Australia at risk of being ‘condemned to digital ghettos’.

Social media can play a vital role in the transformation of current disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, schools and young people in remote and urban areas. This presentation will present research on current creative efforts that are seeking to address this urgent challenge.


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