Netsafe has undertaken a study to better understand the community’s awareness towards online safety. The State of the Online Nation study is being released to coincide with the start of the country’s first dedicated online safety week. Read more now.
What is the State of the Online Nation study about?
The State of the Online Nation is a nationwide study commissioned by Netsafe that took place between 1-12 July 2021. It asked 809 people aged between 18 and 60 about online safety. Participants represented the New Zealand population in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion and region.
What did the State of the Online Nation reveal?
The State of the Online Nation revealed that 68 percent of respondents believe the internet is more dangerous than it was five years ago and it will be even more dangerous in 2026 according to 52 percent of people surveyed.
Other insights include:
- Aotearoa has a somewhat pessimistic outlook on the internet – many think there is a range of things that can be done to make it safer, including education.
- Fifty-two percent had experienced an online safety issue in the past year. Of those who had, 23 percent were exposed to unwanted contact on social media, 11 percent were tracked using technology without their consent, and 10 percent received and then passed on information they passed on that later proved false. Seven percent were bullied or harassed.
- More than 102,000 people (three percent) indicated they had intimate images or videos shared without their consent. Parliament is currently considering the Harmful Digital Communications (Unauthorised Posting of Intimate Visual Recording) Amendment Bill. Netsafe supports the proposed amendments because strengthening the law is critical to helping people experiencing image-based sexual abuse.
- On a brighter note, 71 percent of people think the internet and digital technologies have positively impacted them, and most people support a range of measures to improve the overall safety of the internet and those accessing it.
- Fifty-eight percent of respondents indicated that the country should have stronger laws against people who deliberately spread false information.
- Sixty-five percent want more public awareness campaigns about online safety, and 79 percent believe more information should be shared with children at school.
- A filter that blocks illegal content at a national level was supported by 60 percent of respondents, and 57 percent backed a national strategy tackling online safety.
What do these results mean for the community?
“The internet has played a major part in keeping us connected over the past year, and that isn’t slowing down anytime soon,” says Martin Cocker. “There is a range of things that can be done at a national level that could achieve a difference to overall online safety, but there are also actions that everyone can take today to have an immediate effect.
Martin pointed to five online safety tips Netsafe wants to be spread during Netsafety Week:
- Korero with whānau
- Be a good digital citizen
- Swipe left on fake news
- Discuss sensitive topics
- Know your rights under the Harmful Digital Communications Act
What is Netsafety Week?
Netsafety Week is an opportunity to raise awareness about the safe and positive use of technology and to korero about the role we can all play in creating a better internet in our community. Hundreds of schools, businesses and agencies have joined together to create more positive experiences for everyone. They have united to share the ways to make online spaces safe and reinforce where to get help if things don’t pan out. Find out more at netsafe.org.nz/netsafetyweek.