Trust and Confidence

“76% of consumers know they must actively protect their information online, but they still share passwords and engage in other risky online behaviours…”

The 2017 MBIE/DIA report “Digital New Zealanders: Pulse of Our Nation” highlighted a recent report by Norton that revealed that despite the growing threat and awareness of cyber-crime, consumers remain complacent about protecting their personal information.  The report claimed that 76% of consumers know they must actively protect their information online, but they still share passwords and engage in other risky online behaviours, such as entering financial information online when connected to public WiFi networks.  In the Norton survey, 51% of consumers believed it was becoming harder to stay safe and secure online than in the real world and 48% of parents believed their children were more likely to be bullied online than on a playground.

In a another recent report, Netsafe in New Zealand highlighted the need for parents to understand the relationship between risk and harm.  Netsafe pointed out that exposure to risk does not necessarily lead to harm and while there may be good reasons to reduce risk (e.g. by restricting access to devices or online environments), there are also good reasons not to reduce access, as this restricts children’s online opportunities to grow and learn.  Netsafe promotes the concept of digital citizenship where children are taught safe and responsible behaviours, and encouraged to alert their parents or another adult whenever they encounter anything (or anyone) that seems dodgy.

In 2016, NetSafe was appointed as the approved agency under the Harmful Digital Communications Act to manage and assist internet users with cases of online harassment.
There are more and more reports about New Zealanders being affected by online theft and fraud, scams, malware, hacking and other mobile, computer and internet attacks. The techniques used to do this are increasingly sophisticated. Despite this, New Zealanders have often not have taken the most basic steps to protect themselves online, nor do they know how to respond to harmful digital communications.

Netsafe’s role is to:

  • advise people on steps they can take to resolve a problem;
  • investigate complaints where harm has been caused and attempt to reach settlements between the complainant and the person responsible;
  • liaise with website hosts, ISPs and other internet intermediaries (both here and overseas) and request them to takedown or moderate posts that are clearly offensive; and
  • inform people about their legal options and the possible outcome if they wish to proceed to the district court.
  • provide education and advice on online safety and conduct.

Visit for good advice on staying safe online and other resources.