Netsafe Quarterly Report July – September 2019

CEO Update

Kia ora,

Our first quarter of 2020 financial year has been busy and productive.

We released our first report as a member of the Global Kids Online network. Ngā taiohi matihiko o Aotearoa – New Zealand Kids Online provides insights into how different groups of New Zealand children are gaining online access, their digital skills and the opportunities they are taking advantage of.

Helen O’Toole, Director of Operations, took our Youth Action Squad (YAS) to Sydney for the Facebook Design Jam. They gave their input into how technology companies can collaborate with young people to build safer more respectful online spaces.

We also co-hosted our annual conference with Australia’s Office of the eSafety Commissioner. Given the tragic events of this year, the conference was particularly relevant as people discussed the theme ‘The online world we want’. Prime Minister Morrison opened the conference, our Christchurch Call panel was opened by Prime Minister Ardern and the Australian Minister for Cyber Safety opened day two.

For the first time we will hold our conference in Wellington. It will take place on 9-10 September 2020 and I encourage you to register your interest.

We have also continued our participation in the Christchurch Call which has involved meetings locally and internationally. The live streaming and the distribution of video from the recent attack in Germany only reinforces the need for government, industry and civil society to address the issues of hate and harmful content online together.

As the year progresses, you’ll start to read more about our 2019/20 strategy. We have a strong focus on educating young people, building self-service resources and developing online safety knowledge in diverse and vulnerable communities

Ngā mihi,

Martin Cocker

Director Update

Neil Melhuish, Director of Policy & Research

In 2018 Netsafe joined Global Kids Online, a project that connects researchers and experts from around the world to generate a rigorous cross-national evidence base around children’s use of digital technologies. Netsafe’s membership reflects a commitment to helping all New Zealand children maximise digital opportunities and prevent the impact of online risk and potential harm.

A key benefit of membership is the ability to tap into the vast trove of professional knowledge and experience of the network’s members to inform the work we are doing here in New Zealand.

The Global Kids Online research toolkit provides a vivid example of the benefits of this collective approach. It provides the resources required to carry out reliable national research with children and their parents for the purpose of informing policy and practice. As the same methodology is being used internationally, it is possible to meaningfully compare the experiences of New Zealand children with those in other countries, and vice versa.

Our first report as a member of Global Kids Online from Netsafe’s research project Ngā taiohi matihiko o Aotearoa – New Zealand Kids Online presents findings about New Zealand children’s internet access, online skills, practices, and opportunities.

About the findings

Of the many interesting findings in the report, the study found that while, in general, kids were confident in their digital skills, younger children (9-11 years old) are less so than other age groups. This may mean that they are exposed to greater online risk than their older peers. So, while kids may appear digitally savvy and adopt new technologies easily, they may well need more support and guidance to develop the skills relevant to keeping safe online.

Other findings – such as a big jump in the use of social networking sites, instant messaging apps and sharing of videos and images after the age of 12 – also suggest that the pre-teen age bracket may be a particularly important time to help children develop online safety skills. At the same time, the opportunities brought by social media potentially open the doors to online safety risks and challenges for children of all ages.

This highlights a dilemma familiar to anyone working to support children’s safe access to digital opportunities: How to maximise children’s online opportunities while minimising online risks. At Netsafe we believe that generating insightful, reliable evidence about New Zealand children’s online experiences is vital to developing effective support that reflects children’s experiences and needs, with the aim of helping them to manage online risks and potential harm.

About the future

More evidence from Ngā taiohi matihiko o Aotearoa – New Zealand Kids Online will be released in late 2019/early 2020 on topics related to children and online risk and the experiences of digital parenting. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about these topics or any other aspect of Netsafe’s research programme, please contact me.

Quarterly Results


Between 1 July and September 2019, Netsafe has seen an increase of 25 percent in the number of reports compared to the same period in 2018.





*  Percentage change based on reports made to Netsafe between 1 April and 30 June, 2019

Reports by age group

Overall reports to Netsafe by age group.









Reports by gender







Personal Harm Reporting

Between July and September 2019, Netsafe received 856 personal harm reports. This is a five percent increase compared to the same period in 2018. The top personal harm categories for the quarter were:

Reported breaches of communications principles in complaints under the Harmful Digital Communications Act*

46% Harassment/online bullying

14% False allegations

12% Disclosure of personal facts

12% Threatening, intimidating & menancing

5% Grossly offensive

* Cases often involve breaches of more than one communications principle

Scam and Fraud Reporting

Between July and September 2019, just over $ 4 million in scam and fraud losses was reported to Netsafe in 865 reports. This is an overall decrease in reports and the amount of money lost compared to the previous quarter.

Scam & fraud snapshot








Top scam categories reported

52% Product and services

12% Blackmail

11% Prize & grant

7% Relationship &  trust

5% Investment

Products and services fraud overview

Netsafe has continued to see a spike in reports about scammers using well-known retail brands in text and email scams. Often people are told they have won a prize (e.g. supermarket voucher or a mobile phone) or that they could win a prize by completing an online survey. The online survey asks for personal details and sometimes credit card details to pay for the shipping of the prize. Fortunately, the reported financial losses to this scam have been low.

Education & Engagement 

Netsafe relies on various channels to share online safety information and to inform people about how we can help. Traditional media remains a steadfast way to connect with people of all ages which is why we continued with our radio ads and embarked on another Netsafety Chat on The Hits drive show with Stacey Morrison, Mike Puru and Anika Moa. We focused a lot of our efforts on rangatahi in this quarter as one of the key pillars in Netsafe’s 2020 strategy is about driving greater engagement with young people and the people that support them.

Netsafe Media Releases and Public Engagement

Press release

New research reveals the online lives of New Zealand kids

Media release: 30 September 2019

Netsafe Schools revamp

We introduced a tiered approach to guide a school’s progress and illustrate their growth in online safety competencies. This approach allows us to better connect with schools and help their planning.

YAS at Facebook’s Design Jam

Watch Surisha, YAS member, take part in a Facebook live stream alongside Antigone Davies, Facebook’s Global Head of Safety.

Netsafe Research Releases

Exploring New Zealand children’s internet access, skills and opportunities

Netsafe’s latest research uncovers important insights about New Zealand children’s experiences online and their skills in navigating these online experiences. Key findings reveal:

  • Most New Zealand children were confident in their digital skills but younger children (9-11) were less so, particularly when it comes to managing privacy
  • Most kids use the internet for entertainment, learning and socialising, e.g. 90% watched video clips at least once a week
  • Children were much less likely to go online for activities such as discussing social problems online, writing a blog or connecting with people from a different background for example. These activities were called community, civic and creative opportunities
  • Social media is ubiquitous among children of all ages who use these tools primarily for socialising and entertainment
  • There is a big jump in the use of the internet to connect with others over social media between 12-14
  • Girls were more likely to be using instant messaging and photo-sharing apps while boys were more likely to be using the internet for online gaming
  • Video-hosting websites such as YouTube were the most popular online platform amongst New Zealand kids followed by search engines like Google and photo and video sharing apps like Instagram
  • Asian children were more likely to report frequent access to the internet compared to Pākehā and Māori children with Pacific children reporting the lowest rates of internet access
  • Pacific children were less confident in their skills to protect their privacy online and, along with Māori children, were less confident in their ability to determine whether what they find on the internet is true or not.

See the full report



About Netsafe

Netsafe is New Zealand’s independent, non-profit, online safety organisation. We work hard to keep people safe online by promoting the opportunities available via digital technology and by providing support and advice seven days a week to anyone experiencing a challenge.

Find out more at

Report Data

The data in this report represents the data available at the end of the quarter. Information related to the reports made to Netsafe reflect high-level trends, and do not include easily identifiable information about specific reports/complaints.

If you have any queries about the information in this report, please email [email protected]

Become a Netsafe member

Netsafe is incorporated as a society and a charity. Our members represent a variety of backgrounds and countries, but all have one thing in common – an interest in advancing the online safety cause. Membership is free and easy to apply for. Find out more about being a Netsafe member or apply by completing our online form.

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