Two of New Zealand’s brightest social media stars are backing a programme to help teenagers create their own campaigns to encourage better online behaviour.

Caito Potatoe, who has nearly 30,000 YouTube subscribers, and Liam Waverider, who has more than 2 million Instagram followers, have both thrown their support behind Web Rangers, a NetSafe 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 cyber-bullying 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. Cyber-bullying is serious, and you see the effect it has on people – it’s not okay,” Liam says.

The programme invites teenagers to create a campaign that will help their peers think about online behaviour and keep each other safe online. It is open to all New Zealanders aged 14-17.

Teens will kick off the development of their campaigns at special Web Rangers workshops. Three workshops will be held around New Zealand, so more than 300 teenagers will be able to participate in person. Caito Potatoe and Liam Waverider will attend the workshops, which will be led by Billy T. winner Rhys Mathewson. The workshops will also involve training from experts in marketing, social media and online safety.

The Web Rangers will 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. MPs from across most parties, as well as last year’s Web Rangers winner Angus Slade, will judge the entrants. The creators of the top internet safety campaigns from each city will then fly to Sydney to present their campaign to Google executives.

Last year’s Web Rangers set the bar very high, with social experiments on Auckland’s Queen Street, animated videos set to song, and an online compliment generator taking out the top prizes. Auckland’s winning video by Tearaway Maverick Hayley Smith was viewed over 120,000 times on YouTube!

14 to 17 and interested in taking part? Register your interest here: netsafe.org.nz/webrangers.

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