Insights into Digital Harm: The online lives of New Zealand boys and girls (pdf)

Ministry for Women and Netsafe
Date published
Nov 2017
Name of publisher
Ministry for Women and Netsafe
Place of publication
Document type
Document format


This research is the first of its kind in New Zealand to investigate gendered differences in online harm from the point of view of girls and boys. It establishes a gendered evidence base about digital harm experienced by young people in New Zealand.

This research identifies promising directions and potential solutions to prevent and reduce digital harm. It does so by investigating young people’s views about their use of digital technologies (such as online platforms); their experiences of harm online; what they currently do to prevent and reduce digital harm; and what they think will help in the future.

Digital harm is a complex issue, and can take a variety of forms. The internet provide a space for a unique form of harassment that is easy to create and distribute and difficult to remove.

Digital harm can have a very damaging impact on young people. For example, a 2013 research paper found that a third of participants reported electronic harassment in the prior year, with over 50 percent rating the harassment as distressing.

Young people are still maturing and learning about the world, yet their technical expertise often outstrips that of the adults who seek to support them. We all need better answers as parents, caregivers, family whānau, teachers, friends, service providers and policy makers. This research helps us build the evidence base about what will help to prevent and reduce digital harm.