Early in 2020, 35 secondary school students were welcomed and inducted into the Youth Action Squad (YAS), a cornerstone of Netsafe’s strategy to support young people.

The kick-off event was a chance for new YAS members to get to know each other and participate in a wide range of online safety modules and interactive activities. These were designed to get them ready for the roll ahead – to become online safety leaders within their schools and communities.

This exciting training event began with YAS members and their families learning how the programme is designed for young New Zealanders to support their peers to be safer online. Martin Cocker, Netsafe’s Chief Executive, addressed whānau to express his gratitude for their support of this youth-led programme.

“YAS is a critical programme for Netsafe to ensure we have responsible, intelligent and empathetic young people on the ground in schools around New Zealand who have the skills to help their peers with online safety challenges,” Mr Cocker said after the induction.

The topics of the day included the Harmful Digital Communications Act, nudes and online relationships, privacy and online bullying.

One of the best things about the YAS kick-off was seeing how energised and enthusiastic the YAS were as they participated in discussions about the online safety issues affecting them and their peers. There was an excitement to leave the sessions and create real change and offer helpful support to other young people.

Netsafe is excited to have an intake of dedicated and inspiring YAS members join our cause, brimming with bright ideas and keenness and ready to make a difference.

Check out some of the highlights from the YAS kick-off:

To all of our new YAS members, thank you and welcome aboard!