As COVID-19 reached the shores of New Zealand and the country went into Lockdown, Netsafe had a big job ahead. With everyone suddenly working and learning from home, online challenges and risks were inevitable. New Zealand turned to Netsafe for support, resources, tools and education. Read on to find out Netsafe’s online harm insights.

Our free and confidential helpline was inundated with requests from everyday people needing support with a wide range of issues, including online bullying, scams, misinformation, threatening behaviour and hate speech.

It is widely recognised that New Zealand did a fantastic job responding to COVID-19. But the Lockdown period did, unfortunately, create a perfect storm for people experiencing online harm like never before.

As Lockdown restrictions began to ease, Netsafe surveyed a nationwide sample to fully understand the extent of unwanted digital communications during this period.

According to our latest research online harm skyrocketed during lockdownThe number of individuals suffering unwanted digital communications – encouraging people to hurt or kill themselves – increased. This has been supported by Netsafe data which also paints a picture of how Lockdown impacted online harm and drove demand for self-help resources. 

As Aotearoa makes significant progress fighting COVID-19, and with people back at work and school, Netsafe remains available to help seven days a week 

Watch Netsafe’s Online Harm Insights

Watch Netsafe’s senior leadership team explain more about our COVID-19 insights.

Demand for Netsafe’s services

Our data from Lockdown also paints a picture of how Lockdown caused online harm and demand for all of Netsafe’s services to increase. When the Lockdown period was compared to the same time in 2019, it was found scam reports were up 74 percent, sextortion 35 percent, romance scams 69 percent, intimidation 45 percent and the supply and distribution of objectionable material 66 percent.

Netsafe’s COVID-19 Research

Download and read Netsafe’s full research report.