The Netsafe Youth Action Squad (YAS) is a programme that supports students to spark discussions, plan initiatives, lead activities and enact positive change around the online safety issues that affect them most.
The YAS educate and engage their peers around relevant topics within their school communities with the support of an educator or counsellor.
The YAS can help reduce incidents of online harm experienced by young people by:
How does the YAS benefit schools?
Empowering young people to take the lead in their online safety education can:
- Help schools understand the opportunities, issues and challenges that are specific to their student community
- Help ensure that education around these topics is relevant and is communicated in interactive and engaging ways
- Provide a platform for students to voice their opinions and concerns and come up with effective and innovative solutions to the online challenges they face
- Promote stronger partnership and collaboration within school communities around achieving online safety goals
How does the YAS compliment the Netsafe Schools Programme?
The YAS supports the Netsafe Schools programme providing schools with key resources and approaches to enable greater student engagement and involvement in online safety initiatives. The programme encourages schools to partner with students to reach online safety goals and helps Netsafe Schools to successfully develop the seven key areas identified in the Netsafe Schools Framework, in particular the key area of Students | Ākonga.
"I have really valued the work that our YAS Leaders Mohamed and Rishi have done through our Peer Mediation Service. Their skills, energy and commitment to helping our rangatahi be safer online has been outstanding.They delivered an engaging, well informed, well organised advanced mediation training for over 50 of our Mediators. This workshop was facilitated with two other YAS leaders. They provided information about NETSAFE, the prevalence of online bullying and other dangers, and ways to keep young people safe. This is the first time we have had NETSAFE training for our Mediators and I feel very grateful to them, as we really need this important safety online training within the school.Rishi and Mohamed have also been very involved in making a Mediation video during lockdown, which includes NETSAFE information. We plan to show this to the school during International Peace week in August. Cyberbullying and online harm is ever increasing, and we need to educate our rangatahi ongoingly about its prevalence ,ways to stop it and the role of NETSAFE. Having well trained students in this area of work within the school will really help this to happen. I find it works well having it as a part of an already established Peer Mediation Service where students are trained to be ' Ambassadors of Social Justice', being 'upstanders' against bullying and harassment.Thank you so very much for training our students to be knowledgeable and skilled in this area, as they are the best people to be teaching our students."Donna Hourigan-Johnston, Assistant Head of Guidance Department Mt Roskill Grammar School
“While the increased use of technology within our school environment has brought many opportunities, it has also exposed our students to many dangers. As a school we grappled with finding a way to balance introducing some restrictions without stifling the opportunities. The YAS programme has offered us the chance to help our students become more informed about possible dangers through an educative approach. The power of this programme is that it is led by student leaders within our school. Our student leader’s voices carries so much more mana, is much more authentic and appeals to a broader student body.Engaging with the YAS programme is an ongoing piece of work and will have to constantly evolve with the changes within the digital environment. Our students on the YAS leadership team have proved that they are much more closely connected and responsive to the changes within the digital environment that impact young people. With our student leaders, Beitor and Harleen being involved in the YAS programme, it has increased their awareness of social challenges for our young people. This has triggered an eagerness to rally students to develop a greater social consciousness and seek to make their voice heard in creating awareness of environmental issues and student well-being. I would encourage ALL schools to seriously consider promoting the YAS programme within their schools. The YAS programme empowers our youth to have a voice in the digital space and develop greater confidence in seeking out digital opportunities.”Deputy PrincipalManurewa High School