Fake News, Cyber Bullying and Digital Inclusion of concern in NZ

New research released yesterday by InternetNZ shows that 64% of New Zealanders  surveyed are concerned about ‘fake news’, 74% about Cyber Bullying,  and 50% about the Digital Divide / Digital Inclusion.

Annual attitude research

InternetNZ annually commissions market research company UMR to conduct research on Kiwis’ thoughts and attitudes to the Internet, including our hopes and fears of it.

Rise of ‘fake news’ concern

The 2017 research shows concern for fake news up 13% since last year, the largest increase in concern. InternetNZ Chief Executive Jordan Carter says with the rise of fake news hitting our screens it’s good to know that Kiwis are aware it does exist.

“There are high volumes of non-factual stories coming from overseas sites so it’s pleasing to see people are aware that some sites may be showing false information. We all need to take personal responsibility for what we digest and trust online.”

Cyber Bullying tops the list

InternetNZ’s research also shows that nearly three quarters of New Zealanders (74%) are concerned about cyber-bullying.

“We are spending more and more of our lives online and it’s no surprise that Kiwis are concerned about possible negative effects online bullying can have on us and our children. It’s positive to see organisations like Netsafe working hard to combat cyber-bullying in New Zealand.”

Other top concerns were ‘Too much screen time for young children’ (72%), ‘Threats to the security of personal data’ (68%), ‘Online Crime’ (68%) and ‘The risk of identity theft’ (67%).

Overall the Internet is seen to bring benefits

The report shows that 94% of New Zealanders who use the Internet do so at least once a day and 88% of respondents say the positives of using the Internet outweigh the negatives.

“It’s encouraging to see that New Zealanders believe in the huge potential of the Internet. No New Zealander should be denied access to the benefits the Internet offers,” says Carter.

Digital Inclusion / Digital Divide concerns

Although not top of mind, when asked, half the respondents were concerned ‘That people from low socioeconomic backgrounds have poor access to the Internet’ (50%) and ‘That people living in remote areas have poor access to the Internet’ (55%).

Need for a Digital Inclusion Index

The 20/20 Trust welcomes this research from InternetNZ (we are strategic partners). We also see a need for a New Zealand digital inclusion index including more than internet access: one that includes affordable access to a suitable digital device, an affordable broadband internet connection, and digital skills, confidence and motivation (digital literacy).

We find that many lower income families live in rental accommodation and have mobile phones, not land-lines. They are often under-represented in telephone surveys, unless special efforts are made (as here) to get a nationally representative sample.

Interestingly, the InternetNZ survey shows that only 4% of those using the Internet mainly use a mobile device. This is in contrast to the recent Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII) which found one in five Australians used only mobile devices for their Internet access. The ADII (based on face-to-face research) also found that these mobile-only users had a relatively high degree of digital exclusion.

See also New Zealand’s Digital Inclusion Challenge: Beyond Computers in Home.

More information

InternetNZ’s 2107 Internet Research page has key findings and links to their press release, infographic and summary slides.

20/20 Digital Inclusion Research links

Media enquiries

Laurence Zwimpfer
National Operations & Development Manager, 20/20 Trust
+64 27 430 6737
laurence.zwimpfer@2020.org.nz