A staggering 80 per cent of Kiwi kids believe they are at risk of abuse or mistreatment online – one of the highest proportions in the developed world.
The finding emerged from ChildFund Alliance’s sixth annual Small Voices, Big Dreams survey, one of the world’s most comprehensive polls of children’s views.
This year 661 young Kiwis were among the 5,805 ten to 12-year-olds who shared their thoughts on keeping children safe from harm in support of ChildFund Alliance’s Free from Violence and Exploitation campaign.
The survey asked where children believed they may be at risk of physical or emotional abuse or mistreatment, giving several multi-choice options.
The most popular response among young New Zealanders was ‘online’, selected by four out of five respondents (80 per cent) – the fourth highest proportion out of the 44 countries ChildFund surveyed.
The only places where a higher percentage of children saw the internet as unsafe were Sweden, 84 per cent, Australia 85 per cent, and France 87 per cent.
It’s an astonishing figure; our kids are all too aware of the dangers on the web,” says ChildFund New Zealand chief executive Mr Paul Brown.
“The internet’s become a part of many children’s daily lives, and in many cases they’re required to use tablets and apps to complete school work, but it’s not necessarily an environment they feel safe navigating.”
Mr Brown says that while it’s reassuring that children are aware of the very real risks of being online, the finding also highlights how important it is to ask questions and listen to our children in order to better protect them.
“By involving children in these sometimes difficult conversations, we as parents and caregivers can take the necessary action to make the world a safer place for them.”