Caito Potatoe, who has nearly 30,000 YouTube subscribers, and Liam WaveRider, who has more than two million Instagram followers, have both thrown their support behind Web Rangers, a NetSafe, Sticks ‘n Stones, and Google initiative that challenges teens to create their own nationwide campaign encouraging better internet behaviour, leading to a safer online environment.
Liam says that his own experience with cyberbullying has made him particularly passionate about promoting online safety for teens.
“We can all say we don’t care what people say about us but deep down we all do. Cyberbullying is serious and you see the effect it has on people – it’s not okay,” he said.
The programme invites teenagers to create a campaign that will help their peers think about online behaviour and keep each other safe online. It’s open to all New Zealanders aged 14 to 17.
Teens will kick off the development of their campaigns at special Web Rangers workshops in July. They’ll then be given six weeks to produce their campaigns, which can take any form including: YouTube videos or other social media content; billboards; and in-school events. The creators of the top internet safety campaigns will then fly to Sydney to present their campaign to Google executives.
NetSafe Chief Technology Officer Sean Lyons says challenges are a normal part of online activity, but young people sometimes need help to successfully manage them.
“The best place for teenagers to get support and understand how to be safer online is from their peers. That’s what Web R angers is about. It’s young people creating content that young people understand. Campaigns like this help foster a better online world for our most vulnerable digital citizens.”
Google spokesperson Ross Young says the Web Rangers programme is about getting teenagers to think creatively about how to stamp out bad online behaviour.
“Making sure all young people know how to help themselves and their friends is a vital p art of building a safer online environment. We’ve found the best way to make that happen is to put the power in young peoples’ hands, because no one can craft a message to a teenager like another teenager.”
Fill out entry forms by 10 July; submit campaigns by 9 August.
More at netsafe.org.nz/webrangers/