2 May 2019

6 percent of New Zealand teens post hateful content about themselves - Netsafe research

1:55 pm on 2 May 2019

Six percent of New Zealand teenagers are posting hateful content about themselves online, with 13 and 14 year olds the most likely to do so, new research shows.

Late night internet addiction or working late man using laptop computer in the dark

Photo: 123rf

The study, conducted by Netsafe, found the teenagers had purposely and anonymously posted mean things in the last year, for various reasons.

Netsafe chief executive Martin Cocker said girls were more likely to do it to get sympathy from friends, as a way of showing their resilience publicly or in order to seek reassurance about a friendship.

Boys mostly reported that they had done it for a joke.

Mr Cocker said 65 percent of those who had posted about themselves had done so more than once.

Parents could play a big role in supporting their children and keeping them safe from such online content, Mr Crocker said.

"Online bullying is a very real problem affecting thousands of teenagers each year," he said.

"This research shows that in some online bullying cases the person sending the abuse may also be the person at the receiving end of it."

Justin Patchin, from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, has done research into digital self-harm and found a link between behaviour and depression, bullying and offline self-harm.

Dr Patchin said Netsafe's research shined a light on the prevalence of the behaviour in a New Zealand context.

"Any time a student experiences cyberbullying, there is a problem that needs to be resolved. Even if - no, especially if - the sender and receiver are the same person".

Netsafe provides free confidential advice and support for anyone experiencing online abuse or harm. Netsafe's helpline is 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723) or email help@netsafe.org.nz.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs