Netsafe Report – Teens and Sexting: Prevalence and Attitudes

Netsafe has recently released New Zealand’s first ever research report exploring sexting behaviour in NZ teens – ‘Teens and Sexting: Prevalence and Attitudes’. The 37-page report outlines upsetting statistics about the sharing of nudes among young New Zealanders aged 14-17 years old. The report outlines the differences between categories of youths, such as gender, ethnicity and disability. With this complex and evolving behaviour becoming a part of the norm, sexting is a topic parents’ should be increasingly concerned about.

“This report is has been released as part of an ongoing project exploring young people’s experiences of digital risk and harm, carried out by a partnership between Netsafe and the Ministry for Women. We deeply value the contribution of the Ministry for Women team whose encouragement and insights have helped shaped this study.”

Managing kids’ access to technology is a struggle that most parents face on a daily basis. Who are my kids are engaging with? What are they saying to each other? What kinds of things are they learning about? What websites do they have access to? What are they sending to each other? Are they being appropriate? Are just a few of the questions most parents are asking themselves.

Throughout the study, when Netsafe asked the general public what kind of behaviour they assumed 14-17-year-olds participate in, public attention centred on the potential risks faced by young people sharing nude content online, and the apparent pervasiveness of this behaviour. However, there has been no statistical evidence to support or explain how much of an impact technology has had on our youths when it comes to inappropriate behaviour online.

Here are just a few of the statistics NetSafe discovered:

• 4% of teens say they have sent nude or nearly nude content of themselves in the last 12 months. The percentage nearly doubles among older teens aged 17 years old (7%).

• 5% of all boys surveyed have asked someone for nude images or videos of them. In contrast, the percentage for girls is 2% in the last 12 months.

• Almost three-quarters agree that people should be punished for threatening to share images while a third think that available information and advice tackles issues related to the sharing of nude content well.

• Teens with disabilities were more likely to be asked for nude content of themselves and receive unsolicited nude content than those without impairments.

To read the full report, you can view it here!

PITA members address the issue of protecting kids’ online safety in Fiji

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Samoa and Fiji lead the Pacific region regarding potentially harmful internet content, but for opposite reasons. The Samoan Regulator is encouraging Internet Service Providers in Samoa to establish systems to filter child sexual abuse materials and is currently undergoing a six months pilot scheme with the ISPs who have signed on to determine the best way forward and to ascertain legislative measures that need to be made.

On the other hand, according to this article published in the Fiji Times, Fiji leads the Pacific in searches for online pornography, ranking in the top 10 online searchers for adult content worldwide.

This June 2017 editorial from the Fiji Sun newspaper tells us that in May 2017 according to a report released by the Fiji Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, “There were … 21 victims (of rape or sexual assault) … under the age of 18 years.”

These two articles suggest that there is something going on in Fiji that is not conducive to a healthy society. Is there a link between the consumption of online pornography and a high incidence of sexual assaults in Fiji society? We don’t know the answer to that question, but we’re sure that something needs to change if this abuse is to stop.

We congratulate the Samoan Regulator on being proactive in stemming the flow of potentially harmful material available online, and we call upon all Pacific nations to show leadership in this area.

Bypass is a member of the IWF and proudly supports their vision of globally eliminating child sexual abuse imagery online and to make the internet a safer place. Bypass’ customers can have access to the IWF’s list of  blocked websites as a part of their network level parental controls solution Buddy Guard or Regulatory Enforcement products. The list is automatically integrated into our network filtering technology, and provides parents with peace of mind that their children will not be exposed to inappropriate content online.

While we encourage policymakers to take action, we would also say the regions’ telcos should not wait for regulation. We encourage telcos to take a stand today against this horrific crime and implement network-wide blocking of child sexual abuse content.