NetSafe staff have between them more than 30 years experience of internet safety and security issues. Jesse Greenslade is the latest full time member of staff, joining us back in June 2014 as Office Manager.
Jesse has worked for six years in the education and health sectors and is tasked with everything from day to day admin and finance to managing NetSafe’s member relationships and investigating new funding sources.
He was recently awarded an AMP Regional Scholarship to go towards the funding of his debut children’s book titled ‘First Week Blues’ which looks at the impact of bullying on young people. Learn more about Jesse’s story and pre-order your own copy at www.beyourhero.nz.
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How has the impact of bullying affected your own life?
If we go back for a minute and look at the “social norm” society puts on young people in New Zealand and around the world it creates an image of what one must be.
When I was at school, and even more so now, society gives the impression that boys should like sports, PlayStation, Xbox. They must be tough on the inside and out. Girls should like dolls and playing netball etc. When children age and become teenagers they begin to drink and go to parties. These are all stereotypes that society puts on young people. Because I did not fit within the “social norm” I was ostracised from my peer group – I was bullied because I was different. One of the main impacts bullying had on me was my self-confidence, because people questioned my appearance and who I was.
At 25, you’re the youngest member of the NetSafe team – was cyberbullying an issue for you at school?
Cyberbullying did not have a huge impact on me at school. I didn’t have Facebook until I was seventeen and I wasn’t bullied via text messages. I think it is harder for young people now because unlike me I had an escape from bullying when I was at home. I had a break, now young people are getting bullied in the privacy and comfort of their own home. They have no escape
What inspired you to write First Week Blues? And what has been the response to date?
The idea of writing First Week Blues came from wanting to help young children, to teach them strategies to cope to give them inspiration that they can get through it.
Everyone can relate to Blue, at some stage in our lives we have felt vulnerable or excluded in way or another. The response has been great, the book has been reviewed by Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford which I never thought would happen. I have support from other organisations in New Zealand that deal with children who are different and who don’t fit in with the social norm.
Hairy MacLary, the Gruffalo or the Cat in the Hat. What’s your favourite storybook character?
I loved Hairy MacLary. Hair MacLary had a group of friends who all came from a different walk of life. It goes to show that no matter how small or big you might be you can be accepted into a friendship group.
What would you say to a young person experiencing bullying today?
To all the young people out there who have been bullied or are being bullied, you are not alone.
Stand strong and fight for what you know is right. You are not alone and you will get through this, be proud of who you are.
What you are experiencing is only temporary. Talking to someone and being honest about what is going on can change the situation you are in. And to the bullies, next time you judge someone or stick a label on that person think about their situation and about what you are about to say or do. Your next action could have an impact on their life forever. Some scars do not heal.
Young people reading this who have had a hard time at school with bullying or who may be fighting with depression need to push on. Asking for help or talking about your feelings is the best things you can do for you. Don’t respond to the bully it only ignites the ammunition.
What made you want to work at NetSafe?
NetSafe is an organisation that supports people dealing with digital challenges. What drove me more to NetSafe as an organisation is its work with young people who are getting bullied online. I have a passion and desire to help young people like me who have been bullied and working for an organisation like NetSafe enables me to do that.
What have been your first impressions of the work we do?
The work NetSafe does is amazing; it offers a listening ear as well as support and guidance to help people get through what they are experiencing. NetSafe is an amazing team and I am proud of working with such an excellent organisation.
What would be your ‘top tips’ for Kiwis wanting to protect themselves online?
- Never give out your password to anyone even if you trust them.
- Before you post something online ask yourself would I be happy for this post or image to be shared around the world? You never know who might share it.
- If you are adding someone on Facebook only add them if you know them.
- Always have a strong password and ensure it is something nobody can guess.