Nigel Vagana, Roy Asotasi and Keith Galloway will be among seven NRL players and officials to accompany the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to Tonga and Samoa this week to educate the community about the potential risks involved in using the internet.
Vagana, the NRL’s Welfare and Education Manager, said the October 24-31visit is in support of an ongoing Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police project, Cyber Safety Pasifika, which was launched last year by the AFP’s High Tech Crime Operations together with Samoa and Tonga Police in partnership with the NRL.
Pilot programs have been delivered to almost 8000 children in Tonga and Samoa with 75 per cent of students agreeing they had learnt something from the co-delivered workshops and sessions on internet security and online safety.
“The pilot programs were considered a huge success at engaging children and the community because of the involvement of NRL ‘heroes’ in reinforcing the important messages being delivered,” Vagana said.
“The NRL is really proud to be able to provide valuable support to the AFP and police from the Pacific countries to raise community awareness of the potential dangers to children when using the internet.”
Vagana left for Tonga today, along with fellow NRL players and officials Roy Asotasi (Rabbitohs), Caleb Timu (Broncos), Jayson Bukuya (Sharks), Etuate Uaisele (Panthers), Keith Galloway (Wests Tigers) and Don Singe (Sea Eagles official).
They will co-deliver workshops to school children (Years 9-10), as well as public and private sectors such as church groups, small business, sporting clubs and youth groups.
Detective Superintendent Todd Hunter, Acting Manager Cyber Crime Operations, said: “Internet usage is growing rapidly throughout the Pacific.
“Unfortunately it also opens up opportunities for crime such as grooming of young people for sexual purposes through to online fraud and identity theft.
“We are proud to have the NRL supporting this project which will bring awareness to the communities, particularly children.
“Police alone cannot protect people from these dangers. It is a whole-of-community problem and we sincerely thank the players, clubs and the NRL for their support and time in getting the messages out to the community.”
The tour will run in Tonga from October 24-26 before moving to Samoa from October 28-31.
The program continues the AFP’s long-term partnership with the NRL, which also involves delivering workshops on illicit drugs along with social media through the NRL Education and Welfare Programs.