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The true cost of cyber-bullying

Paul Brislen, Editor. 10 October 2018, 7:12 am

One in ten New Zealanders has been cyber-bullied and the total cost each year runs to more than $400 million says a new report from Netsafe.

The report, put together by economist Shamubeel Eaqub, is the first in New Zealand that puts a financial figure on the social cost of cyber-bullying and uses international research alongside a UMR survey of 1000 people in New Zealand.

While the figures suggest cyber-bullying is widespread, most of the impact is felt most sharply by the young, women and people of colour.

The report suggests cyber-bullying is most common among teens and people in their early twenties - almost half of all 18 and 19 year olds have been subject to some form of cyber abuse.

The cost associated with cyber-bullying is based on a number of factors including cost of providing support services, any intervention by health workers or authorities (including Netsafe), and even the cost associated with loss of life. By far the biggest burden falls on family and friends in terms of time costs associated with helping the victims of such attacks.

Typical bullying ranges from name calling and flaming through to threats of physical violence, sexual violence and even death threats and of course with our connected society, the medium for such threats range from online chat forums, social media and even text messages to mobile devices.

Netsafe says the report gives New Zealand "a starting point to begin to understand the full impact of this behaviour here".

"It highlights that cyberbullying has a much wider affect than the individual person being targeted and that more could be done to address the risks."

Netsafe provides online safety education, advice and support for people in New Zealand. and was appointed as the approved agency to receive, assess and investigate complaints of harm caused by digital communications under the Harmful Digital Communications Act in 2015. 


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Joshua Sime 11 October 2018, 11:24 am

Cyber-bullying is a huge problem in New Zealand. As a victim of cyber-bullying and being told to do harmful things to myself, something needs to be done. Suicide rates have sky-rocketed throughout the world because of Cyber-bullying and the only way to decrease those ways is to do something about it. As I would like to get into Cyber-security, I believe Facebook isn't a healthy social media website. Facebook has a relatively good report feature but for the millions and millions that use it, a couple hundred Facebook Employees cannot deal with every single complaint. I believe if New Zealand created a Social Media site only available in New Zealand then our country could slowly but surely start to decrease in suicide by Cyber-bullying. Obviously, this would mean you wouldn't be able to communicate with other countries but this is just because their wouldn't be enough people to handle all the complaints that came from a new Social Media website. Basically, it would be absolutely awesome if New Zealand could be the safest internet community in the world. Like many say, nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

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