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Netsafe Asks New Zealanders To Be ‘Closed To Harassment’ This Netsafety Week

  • Research shows harmful digital communication is up by 24%
  • Over half of respondents experienced an online safety issue, and of those, almost a quarter were exposed to unwanted contact on social media
  • Netsafety Week (24-30 July) launches with a new Social Media Self Defence Course called ‘Closed to Harassment’
  • To support the initiative, Kiwis and NZ businesses can be ‘Closed to Harassment’ for one hour at 10 am on Friday 28 July to complete the course

Everyone should be able to enjoy safe and positive experiences online, but research shows harmful digital communication is up by 24%. Over half of New Zealanders surveyed said they had experienced an online safety issue, and almost 25% of them have been exposed to unwanted contact on social media.

This Netsafety Week (24-30 July), Netsafe is launching an online Social Media Self Defence Course called ‘Closed to Harassment’ as part of its mission to arm Aotearoa with the tools for positive online experiences. New Zealanders everywhere are being asked to be ‘Closed to Harassment’ for one hour at 10 am on Friday 28 July, to take part in the course.

Online harassment is taking place on a daily basis, and for many New Zealanders avoiding online spaces is not an option as they need to share work with their peers to build their profiles, reputations, and further their careers. The Netsafety Week ‘Closed to Harassment’ Social Media Self Defence Course is designed to give all New Zealanders the tools to better manage in an online world that remains imperfect.

Netsafe CEO Brent Carey says, “Everyone should be able to enjoy safe and positive experiences online, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case. Reports of this type of harm to Netsafe continue to grow annually, and while research into abusive online behaviour shows a clear upward trend, underreporting continues as people minimise, or even normalise, their experiences, as though it’s ‘the cost of doing business online.”

“It’s not only the data, but the nature of the harm that concerns us. The online abuse that people in positions of business or civic leadership face as they carry out their roles is often sexist, racist or violent threats, so we want to equip people with the knowledge they need to recognise, prevent, and block out the abuse online.”

A wide range of New Zealand organisations have confirmed they will be ‘Closed to Harassment’, including Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, eSports Federation, CODE - The Centre of Digital Excellence, National Council of Women, Victim Support Agency, Rape Prevention Education, Digitella Marketing, Platinum Recruitment, Lowndes Jordan, IT Professionals, The Advertising Standards Authority, Outspoken, and the Commercial Communications Council among others.

Liz Delaney, Founder of Odd Management & Outspoken by ODD says, “We’re proud to be supporting Netsafety Week this year by being Closed to Harassment and giving our team an hour back to do the online Social Media Self Defence Course - it’s becoming increasingly challenging for many people to be online, and we want to make sure our team and our talent have the tools and the knowledge they need to have more positive experiences. What Netsafe is doing is hugely needed - it’s free, online and easy for anyone to access.”

Brent comments, “Social media has given us networking and business promotion opportunities that we never previously had access to, but unfortunately offline abusive behaviour has migrated to these channels, and it can lead to people not benefitting from these opportunities out of a fear of putting themselves ‘out there’ online. Netsafe has created the ‘Closed to Harassment’ course to help provide practical tools and harm prevention support to help New Zealanders get the most benefit – and the least harm – while fulfilling their professional, digital lives.”

The ‘Closed to Harassment’ Social Media Self Defence Course will be available to everyone who would like to learn how to better manage their online experiences by visiting closedtoharassment.co.nz

About Netsafe:

Netsafe is New Zealand’s independent, non-profit online safety charity. Taking a technology-positive approach to the challenges digital technology presents, we work to help people in New Zealand take advantage of the opportunities available through technology by providing practical tools, support and advice for managing online challenges. We are an independent organisation adjacent to government and law enforcement operating a seven day a week helpline as the Approved Agency under the Harmful Digital Communications Act. Netsafe keeps people of all ages safe online by providing free support, advice and education.

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