Technology on the Table at the FRSA Conference
22 November 2011 at 11:25 am
The Family Relationship Services Australia National Conference, held last week on the Gold Coast, focused on supporting Australian families and responding to their changing needs, including the role of technology in addressing social issues.
One of the highlights of the conference was a presentation from CEO of the Inspire Foundation, Jonathon Nicholas.
Nicholas’s presentation focused on using technology to improve the wellbeing of children and young people, and the challenges and opportunities that the future will hold.
Nicholas argued that technology and globalisation is changing the social context for children, and that so far society is yet to develop approaches to protect the wellbeing of children in the new context.
Looking at what the future holds, Nicholas said technology is changing the way people live rapidly, with 1 billion people to adopt smart phone technology in the next 5 years.
Nicholas said we can expect to see big changes in the way we live – social norms will be rewritten every three years, 20th century models and systems will fail to answer emerging challenges and there will be a profound change in how the workforce operates.
A challenge includes harnessing technology to assist those with a mental illness.
Nicholas told the conference that one in four young people are affected by mental health problems, and suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged 15-24.
He said 75% of mental illness begins before age 25, and 70% of people do not seek help. However he pointed to the fact that as 95% of young people use the internet, online solutions could be found for problems.
He said technology could be used more appropriately to build better social systems, and also by ‘changing the argument’ towards early intervention, by reimagining civil society and thinking about doing things differently.
More then 500 delegates attended the conference, which included a keynote presentation from the man behind lateral-thinking, Edward de Bono,
As part of the 2011 theme of innovation, delegates were provided with a free smartphone application – the Grupio App – which included the entire schedule, speaker bios, exhibitors, hotel floor plans, maps, surveys and social media relevant to the FRSA National Conference 2011.
Pro Bono Australia was the media partner at the FRSA National Conference.