New Zealanders concerns about the Internet accelerating fast
New research, released today by InternetNZ, shows that New Zealanders’ concerns about parts of the Internet are growing at a rapid speed.
58% of New Zealanders — up from 42% last year — are either ‘extremely concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ about online conspiracy theories.
Our level of concern about misinformation has also dramatically risen this year. 66% of New Zealanders — up from 56% last year — are either extremely or very concerned that information is misleading or wrong (e.g. misinformation).
The next biggest rise in concern levels is that the Internet is a forum for extremist material and hate speech. People who said they were extremely or very concerned about this jumped from 58% to 65%.
InternetNZ Chief Executive, Jordan Carter, says this research is undertaken every year.
"The rise in concern levels stands out this year and is certainly worrying.
"The concerns New Zealanders are feeling highlights the urgent need for improving our experience online.
"We are facing major challenges online — a lot of them with broader themes of misinformation and hate — and we need to come together to try and solve these.
"It is not a problem that Aotearoa is facing alone, but I believe that we can show some international leadership in this space if we can shift the dial and start to overcome these challenges," says Carter.
The research also shows us that our concerns over our personal security online are rising. Two-thirds of New Zealanders (66%) have chosen not to use at least one online service because of security or privacy concerns in the past 12 months. This is an increase of 8 percentage points compared to the year before.
Enabling young children to access inappropriate content remains the number one concern with 74% of people very concerned or extremely concerned. Other top concerns are cyberbullying 71%, security of personal data 69%, and online crime 68%.
Despite online content, security and trust concerns, 86% of us believe the benefits of the Internet outweigh the negatives.
"This shows us that New Zealanders still recognise and value the benefits the Internet offers.
"But with so many people utilising the Internet, and the growing necessity it has become to function in today's society, it’s more important than ever that we mitigate the risks online," says Carter.
Check out the findings on our website here: https://internetnz.nz/internet-insights