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Kiwis are concerned about how cyberbullying and fake news could affect their lives

Research released by InternetNZ shows that almost two-thirds of New Zealanders are concerned about the amount of misleading information available online.

The research shows concern about fake news is up 13% since last year, this is a large increase in concern from the 2016 results.

There has been a lot more global reporting of fake news in media over the past year, especially with Trump taking office in America.

This may be a contributing factor to the rise of concern here in New Zealand.

InternetNZ annually commissions market research company UMR to conduct research on Kiwis' thoughts and attitudes toward the Internet, including their hopes and fears of it.

Jordan Carter, InternetNZ chief executive says, “There are high volumes of non-factual stories coming from overseas sites so it's pleasing to see people are aware that some sites may be showing false information.

“We all need to take personal responsibility for what we digest and trust online.”

InternetNZ's research also shows that nearly three-quarters of New Zealanders are concerned about cyber-bullying.

Carter continues, “We are spending more and more of our lives online and it's no surprise that Kiwis are concerned about possible negative effects online bullying can have on us and our children.

“It's positive to see organisations like Netsafe working hard to combat cyberbullying in New Zealand."

Despite these concerns, there is overwhelming evidence that the Internet brings with it more good than bad and that it opens up new opportunities for all Kiwis.

94% of New Zealanders use the Internet at least once a day and 88% say the positives of using the Internet outweigh the negatives.

When InternetNZ asked participants what the main benefits of the Internet are, 73% said it was the access to information.

Carter saying, “It's encouraging to see that New Zealanders believe in the huge potential of the Internet. 

“No New Zealander should be denied access to the benefits the Internet offers.”

InternetNZ promises it will continue to fund this research each year to build a useful resource and determine trends over time.

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