Kids urged to keep safe online

Friday 24 July 2009, 10:26AM
By Telecom New Zealand

More than half of kiwi teens say they spend two hours or more a day on the
Internet and texting friends* and key organisations are joining forces to
ensure they are aware of how to stay safe.

Telecom, Netsafe and the New Zealand Police are providing parents and
caregivers with a resource that provides straightforward advice about how
to keep their children safer in this environment.

The Keeping Kiwi Kids Safer in Cyberspace pamphlet outlines the risks that
children and young people face, ranging from being bullied by text or
email to receiving unwanted materials online.

The growing range of communications technologies is creating unprecedented
opportunities for young people to learn, be entertained, interact with
friends and family, and meet new people in cyberspace.

Kate Horler, who leads Telecom’s security initiatives for Home internet
users, says that while children are quick to pick up on the benefits of
the internet, mobile phones and other devices they are often less aware of
the risks.

“If parents aim to understand the internet they can help their children
explore and enjoy cyberspace to its best potential while also being
mindful of how to stay safe.”

Straightforward tips range from keeping the computer children use in the
family living area, with the screen in full view, to links to sites for
tips on safe surfing and for free security software.

Netsafe says internet and mobile phone communication are a normal part of
life for young people. If young people think their technology will be
removed if they report a bad experience they are unlikely to confide in an
adult, and instead try to manage the situation themselves.

“If adults want to help, they need to tell young people that if there is a
problem they will help sort it out, and not take away their social
access,” says Netsafe operations manager Lee Chisholm.

Superintendent Bill Harrison, National Manager youth services for NZ
Police says information and advice is included in the work programme that
Police Education Officers deliver to schools, where it sits well with
Police's bullying prevention programme Kia Kaha.

"As Police we want to see all public spaces are safe places for children.
The internet is the largest public space our kids visit and they need
guidance and information to navigate it safely."

Parents, caregivers and schools can get copies of Keeping Kiwi Kids Safer
in Cyberspace by going to or by calling 0508
NETSAFE. Schools can get bulk supplies of the pamphlet through their
Police Education Officer.

A few statistics about children and the Internet:

• Almost 20 percent of young people have been sent a nasty or threatening
message by mobile or the Internet*
• Girls are almost 10 percent more likely to receiving nasty or
threatening messages than boys, at 24 percent compared with 15 percent *
• At a maximum, 25% of parents of children under 18 control/monitor their
children’s internet activity**
• 12 percent of people have pretended to be someone else online**
• 74 percent of people have accidentally downloaded a virus**
• 8 percent of people have been victims of cyber bullying**

*Youth’07 The Health and Wellbeing of Secondary School Students in New
Zealand (December 08) conducted by the University of Auckland Faculty of
Media and Health Sciences. The survey was conducted in 96 secondary
schools throughout New Zealand and collected information from more than
9000 students.

** 2009 Telecom Netguide Broadband Survey. The survey asked a series of
questions about how New Zealanders use the Internet and was completed by
approximately 1,600 people.

Telecom offers a free McAfee security suite to its broadband and dial-up
customers. The security package includes a firewall, anti-virus scanner,
identity protection and parental tools to help protect children from
harmful content.

For further information about downloading the McAfee security suite and to
check your computer’s compatibility, visit