Netsafe is New Zealand’s independent, non-profit online safety organisation. We provide online safety help, support, expertise and education to people in New Zealand. We’ve been around for almost 20 years, and there’s a bit of history behind how we got to where we are today.
Netsafe was founded in 1998 to help New Zealand internet users stay safe online and has been involved with schools throughout New Zealand since that date.
It was well before smartphones were smart or media had learned to be social, but it was clear new technologies were connecting New Zealand internet users to new opportunities and challenges.
After noticing the growing influence of technology in their respective areas, the New Zealand Police, Ministry of Education and several not for profits teamed up with telecommunication organisations and IT industry partners to create an independent body focused on online safety.
Together they created the Internet Safety Group (rebranded Netsafe in 2008).
Netsafe was given the remit to build an internet safety organisation that didn’t scare people away from technology. Instead we encouraged people to adopt it by promoting the tools and techniques they could use to minimise their online risks.
In 2000 Netsafe produced its very first Kit for Schools, or “The Internet Safety Kit” as it was described then. The version of the Kit you are now using is the fifth major redevelopment in close to two decades. A lot has changed since that first Kit, both in terms of the environment, and the advice that it provides.
Thanks to our positive technology stand, pragmatic approach and innovative campaigns, Netsafe has been at the forefront of internet safety and security. More importantly we’ve provided support, education and advice to thousands of New Zealand internet users and schools and helped resolve many online safety and security complaints.
We have strong relationships in the business and education sectors and collaborate with government, law enforcement, industry and community organisations in New Zealand and around the world to achieve the best outcomes for internet users.
In 2016 Netsafe was appointed as the agency to receive, assess and investigate complaints about online bullying, harassment and abuse under the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015.
As digital technology use grows and evolves at a rapid pace in society, it becomes more important for Netsafe to help people manage and reduce the risk of online harm, so that they feel more confident being online.
Meet the Team
As Netsafe’s education advisor for the lower North Island and South Island, Angela brings broad experience from her roles in education to work closely with schools to help them to develop safe online environments for young people.View profile
As Netsafe’s education advisor for the upper North Island, Pauline works closely with schools to help them to develop safe online environments for young people. She brings a wealth of facilitation, coaching and mentoring experience to the team and is equally at home working one to one or in large group settings.View profile
As Director of Policy at Netsafe, Neil is the interface between the organisation and its government partners. Neil provides expert advice on the role and impact of digital technology in the lives of children, young people, family and whānau. This includes providing advice to the Ministry of Education on trends and emerging issues.View profile
Martin Cocker has been the CEO of Netsafe since 2006. Martin has been involved directly in the development of the Netsafe kit for schools since version 3. Martin is also involved with education industry groups including OSAG and BPAG and is an advisor on international trust and safety groups.View profile
Sean Lyons is the Director of Technology and Partnerships for Netsafe. Sean has been with the organisation since 2006 coming from a background in the education sector where he worked both as a teacher and school leader and as an ICT consultant to schools. Prior to that Sean worked in IT and Science sectors.View profile
Helen O’Toole is Director of Operations and is responsible for the contact centre team who receive and assess the reports submitted to Netsafe and help people with a wide range of digital challenges whether they be identifying scams, online incidents within schools or resolving online bullying and harassment.View profile
Ben Thomas is the Legal Advisor at Netsafe and provides general legal advice for Netsafe including aspects of policy and practice regarding law and regulation within the education area. Previously, Ben worked as a Policy Advisor in the Criminal Justice Unit at the Ministry of Justice.View profile