Children accessing inappropriate content and identity theft: survey uncovers top online concerns of Kiwis

94 per cent of people are concerned about the security of personal data but many are not taking appropriate steps to protect themselves online Andrew Cushen, InternetNZ

A new survey commissioned by InternetNZ shows 93 per cent of Kiwis use the internet once a day or more.

The main benefit, cited by 83 per cent of respondents, is the accessibility to information.

But this access to data also has its downsides, according to the research conducted by Colmar Brunton.

Concerns about young children accessing inappropriate content online, security of personal data and cyber bullying, online crime and identity theft have emerged as top concerns for those going online.

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Despite this, 9 out of 10 Kiwis think the benefits of the internet outweigh its drawbacks.

This is up from 88 per cent in 2016 and 89 per cent in 2017, according to InternetNZ.

The research shows safety and trust online is a key theme, topping New Zealanders’ lists of concerns.

“94 per cent of people are concerned about the security of personal data but many are not taking appropriate steps to protect themselves online,” says Andrew Cushen, InternetNZ outreach and engagement director.

Andrew Cushen

Only a third of people are using two-factor or multi-factor authentication on their accounts. Meanwhile, less than half of respondents are regularly backing up their content.

“These are numbers that we must try to improve in order for New Zealanders to be safe online. We all need to take personal responsibility for our safety on the internet," says Cushen.

The survey results is a reminder for families to talk with each other about the different types of content found online, and to talk about what to do if they come across any upsetting content,” adds Cushen. “We need to ensure that people of all ages feel safe on the internet.”

Meanwhile, the ability to work from home has emerged as the fourth key benefit of the internet.

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The survey found nearly half of respondents (49 per cent) work from home as well as their workplace.

Those who work from home would like to do it more often but are hampered by both technology and policies of their respective workplaces.

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"As more and more of our lives are spent on the internet mdash; being able to access information online has now become a necessity. This is why it’s so important that we continue to try and close digital divides in New Zealand,” says Cushen.

“Every New Zealander deserves the opportunity to harness the power of the internet."

InternetNZ says Colmar Brunton conducted the research among 1859 respondents, both consumers and business owners, in October 2018.

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InternetNZ says it will continue to fund this research each year to demonstrate what people think today, and how their thinking changes over time.

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