Frequently Asked Questions

What is Livewire?

Livewire, a program of the Starlight Children’s Foundation, is an online community to help young people aged 10 to 20 years, and their families, cope with the impact of a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability.  

Livewire has three registration options:

  1. Members: The Member community is a safe online environment for young people, aged between 10 and 20 years, living with a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability, and their siblings. It’s a place for them to meet new friends, share experiences, creatively express themselves and know that they are not alone in their situation.
  2. Parents: Parents or carers of young people living with a chronic health condition, serious illness and disability are able to connect with other parents or carers in similar circumstances, within Livewire.org.au groups. Parents are able to establish or join a group specific to their child’s condition.
  3.  Not-For-Profits: Livewire works with not-for-profits both in Australia and New Zealand, enabling organisations to set up their own livewire group. This provides a safe online platform for organisations to connect with young people that utilise their services, providing them with event updates, resource information and support relevant to their condition.

What is the need for livewire?

  • Serious illness, chronic health condition or disability can profoundly affect the everyday lives of young people by increasing their risk of social isolation, disconnection, lower peer acceptance and lower emotional well-being. These problems are compounded by long and frequent stays in hospital (Barton 2008).
  • There are an estimated 450,000 young Australians aged 10 to 20 years living with the impact of a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability, who are at risk of social isolation (Barton 2008).
  • The siblings and young carers of people living with a serious illness or disability face their own unique teenage challenges - often suffering from social and emotional isolation in addition to the constant demands of caring for a family member.
  • Many families struggle to cope with a child living with a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability.  Parents and carers often suffer a heavy emotional burden, physical stress and financial pressure.  There are approximately 500,000 parents and primary carers of someone with a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability (Cummins et al 2007).
  • A research study conducted by Murdoch University has found that livewire.org.au's unique combination of moderated chat, safety and entertainment has created a reliable point of social connection for young people aged 10-20 years that often lack opportunities to socially interact with others their age due to a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability. Livewire allows members to find a balance in their lives, despite disruptions such as time in hospital or time away from school, by encouraging social connection, friendship and community (Third & Richardson, 2009).

Livewire mission

To connect, support and empower young people and their families affected by a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability.

What are the product features of livewire?

Livewire is a tailored and moderated community combining a range of unique features:

  • A fully-moderated chat room providing our members with the opportunity to stay connected to other members who share similar experiences
  • Messaging
  • Create blogs and share their thoughts
  • Listen to the latest music and watch video clips
  • Read articles created just for them
  • Create a group or join a group tailored to their interests or needs

How is Livewire kept safe and secure?

Ensuring that livewire remains safe and secure is a top
priority and is livewire's key point of difference:

  • Livewire chat hosts are trained moderators and constitute a unique feature of the livewire 'chat' facility. Chat hosts are active participants, directly engaging in conversations and facilitating activities with the members. Their presence provides a more integrated and fun community, while ensuring livewire.org.au members are having a, positive, enjoyable and safe experience (Third & Richardson, 2009).
  • Livewire has a comprehensive registration process and every livewire member is validated by our membership services team before gaining access to the chat room. Young people under 18 require parent consent, proof of identification and a third party reference in order to gain unrestricted and ongoing access to the community.

If you have more questions about how security is maintained in livewire, don’t hesitate to contact our membership services team on +61 (02) 8425 5971 or email member.services@livewire.org.au.

How do you join Livewire?

It's easy! Just visit www.livewire.org.au or www.livewire.org.nz and register online.



Cummins, R., Hughes, J., Tomyn, A., Gibson, A., Woerner, J., Lai, L., & Collard, J. (2007). Wellbeing of Australians: changing conditions to make life better, Deakin University, Geelong, Vic.

Third, A., & Richardson, I. (2009). Analysing the impacts of social networking for young people living with chronic Illness, a serious condition or a disability: An evaluation of the Livewire Online Community. Murdoch University, Centre for Everyday Life, Perth WA.

Barton, B. (2008). Starlight Children’s Foundation – Livewire research project. Children’s Hospital Education Research Institute, Children’s Hospital, Sydney, NSW.