Cyberbullying in NZ 3rd highest of 29 countries surveyed

The estimated incidence of cyberbullying in New Zealand is the third highest of the 29 countries surveyed by Ipsos and only 19% feel that cyberbullying can be addressed by existing anti-bullying measures.

The estimated incidence of cyberbullying in New Zealand is the third highest of the 29 countries that participated in the recent Ipsos Global Advisor Cyberbullying Study, with more than a quarter of New Zealand parents or caregivers saying their child has experienced cyberbullying at some point. 

The study defines cyberbullying as when a child or group of children (under the age of 18) intentionally intimidate, offend, threaten, or embarrass another child or group of children, specifically through the use of information technology, such as a website, social networking sites or chatroom on the Internet, a smart phone, or other internet channels.

Ipsos’ Global Advisor study, carried out in 29 countries, found although global awareness of cyberbullying is high (75%), one quarter of adults have still never heard of it. Awareness is highest in Sweden and Italy (91% each) and lowest in Saudi Arabia (37%). Some 84% percent of New Zealanders report being aware of cyberbullying, which is similar to around half of the countries surveyed. 

Globally, 17% say their own child has experienced cyberbullying but at 27% the estimated incidence of cyberbullying in New Zealand is the third highest of all the countries that participated in the study, which is behind only India (37%) and Brazil (29%). Additionally, over 25% of Kiwi parents or caregivers indicated that their child has been a victim of cyberbullying at some point in their lives. Japanese and Russian parents reported the lowest incidence of cyberbullying, with 4% and 0% respectively.

One in three parents worldwide (33%) report knowing a child in their community who had been cyberbullied. Among the countries surveyed, South Africa shows the highest prevalence of cyberbullying, based on a majority (54%) of South African parents who know of a child in their community who has been the victim of cyberbullying. Parents in Japan (5%) and Russia (8%) are least likely to report knowing a child in their community who had been cyberbullied. In New Zealand, almost every second parent or caregiver said they know of a child in their wider community who has been cyberbullied at some point before turning 18 years old.

In terms of media spaces where cyberbullying occurs, social networking sites are reported to be the primary site where cyberbullying takes place1. 65% of New Zealand parents and caregivers said that social networking sites were the main place where their child was experiencing cyberbullying, which was the same as the global average2. Only Turkey (60%), Saudi Arabia (56%) and China (23%) reported social networking sites to be lower than in New Zealand.

The survey results also show that parents who have witnessed bullying of their own child or another in the community believe classmates are the primary perpetrators of cyberbullying in New Zealand (70%) and this is much higher than many other countries, including Canada (68%), South Africa (67%), the United States (62%), and India (42%). The incidence of cyberbullying by an adult stranger is however far lower in New Zealand compared to many other countries (12%). 

Lastly, less than one in five Kiwis (or 19%) feel that cyberbullying can be addressed via existing anti-bullying measures. This result is very similar to countries such as Italy (18%), Argentina (18%), Peru (17%) and France (16%). This contrasts notably to countries like the United States (30%), Russia (37%), China (41%) and Saudi Arabia (49%). 81% of New Zealanders believe that this form of bullying requires special attention or that current measures are not sufficient enough to help address cyberbullying and new strategies are required in the future.  

Commenting on the findings, Dr Richard Griffiths, Research Manager, Ipsos New Zealand, said: “There is an extremely high level of incidence of cyberbullying in this country which we expect contributes to the comparatively high estimated awareness of this newer, 21st century form of bullying. With media spaces such as social networking sites being a major channel in which cyberbullying occurs in New Zealand, it is crucial that young Kiwis protect themselves when visiting these sites and their friends wherever possible. Strategies such as seeking to block offending users or reporting behaviour which is unacceptable at the earliest possible point is a key starting point for addressing cyberbullying in the first instance.”

Carin Hercock, Managing Director, Ipsos New Zealand, added:
“Ipsos Global Advisor surveys give us a great opportunity to see where New Zealand is placed in the world across a wide range of issues. This is one ranking that I think all New Zealanders and especially parents, will be saddened to see us towards the top of. We could conclude, that the higher incidence levels reflect a higher level of awareness in New Zealand about this problem than in other countries, which is the first step in addressing a problem. However, we also know that young people do not tell their parents everything that happens in their lives and so we could also assume that the actual incidence is even higher than reported here. This is particularly concerning given cyber-bullying has been noted by coroners as a background factor for teen suicide in New Zealand, where our rates are the highest in the OECD.”

About this Study:

These are the findings of a Global Advisor Cyberbullying Study. In total 20,793 interviews were conducted between March 23 – April 6, 2018 among adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and adults aged 16-64 in all other countries. A total of 501 New Zealanders over the age of 18 answered questions about cyberbullying in the latest New Zealand Global Advisor survey which ran from Friday 20th July to Wednesday 25th July 2018. The New Zealand data was subsequently added to the existing international data. The survey was conducted in 29 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The countries reporting herein are across Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States.

Between 500 and 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis via the Ipsos Online Panel. The sample was 1000+ in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain and the United Stated of America. In all other countries, including New Zealand, the sample was 500+. The precision of Ipsos online polls is calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 5.0 percentage points. For more information on Ipsos’ use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.

In countries where internet penetration is approximately 60% or higher the data output generally reflects the overall population. Of the 29 countries surveyed online, 18 yield results that are balanced to reflect the general population: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, South Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Great Britain and the United States. The remaining countries surveyed – Brazil, India, Mexico, South Africa, and Turkey - have lower levels of internet connectivity and reflect online populations that tend to be more urban and have higher education/income than the general population.
Where results do not sum to 100, this may be due to computer rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

This study did not have any external sponsors or partners. It was initiated and run by Ipsos, because we are curious about the world we live in and how citizens around the globe think and feel about their world.

1 Social networking sites can include sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Here it must be stressed that the Ipsos study did not investigate the specific social networking sites in which cyberbullying was taking place.
2 Note: These percentages are based on respondents who said their child had experienced cyberbullying, and countries are only included where base size is greater than n=100.