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World first internet counselling service for kids goes live
19 May 2000

Optus and Kids Help Line announced today that the world's first free internet counselling service for children is live.

The service, which has been trialed in selected schools nationally for the last nine months, is based on the Kids Help Line telephone counselling service and gives kids, with access to a computer and the internet, the ability to contact counsellors online.

Kids can email a counsellor about any issue and receive a response within 48 hours, or access a counsellor one-on-one in real time. Initially, the one-on-one internet counselling service will be available 3pm to 9pm Monday to Friday.

"Optus is very proud to be involved with this world first because we are using our technology to give kids another way to ask for help," said John Filmer, Director Enterprise Cable & Wireless Optus.

"Every year Kids Help Line talks to more than 500,000 young Australians and there are many more calls that currently cannot be answered. So it seemed a natural progression for Optus, through both cash sponsorship and technical expertise, to commit to the development of an online service for children.

"Internet support is a real breakthrough in extending the reach of the existing Kids Help Line telephone counselling service and will be cheaper to deliver than telephone counselling. Those savings will ultimately mean more children will be able to access the service," said Mr Filmer.

To further support the development of the web counselling service and in conjunction with the launch of the Kids Help Line HELP CD, Optus has included a special offer to OptusNet dial-up internet service. For every connection Optus will donate an additional $5 to Kids Help Line and people who join OptusNet will get a bonus 200 hours free connection in their first month.

Visit www.kidshelp.com.au for Kids Help Line's email and internet counselling.

For more information:
Melissa Favero
Cable & Wireless Optus
Phone: (02) 9342 5030