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Adults’ negative online experiences 585.35 KB

This report highlights that negative online experiences, whether personal or witnessed, are relatively common among adults with the range of experiences broadly covering unwanted contact or content, scams and fraud, cybersecurity breeches and exposure to aggressive online behaviours.

For many adult Australians the sources of their personal or witnessed negative online experiences are unknown reflecting the opportunity for anonymity in the online world. Findings also suggest that a person's age, background and the types of activities undertaken online are likely to increase the chances of experiencing online incidents and negative impacts, as is the case for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and adults identifying as LGBTQI+. However, these groups are not passive in terms of their reactions. They are more likely to respond in kind and to take some form of action such as blocking, talking to family and friends or reporting an incident to a social media service or website.

Research findings also show a strong link between being a target online and using negative behaviours online towards others. This highlights the complex dynamics experienced by at-risks groups who are the target of negative online behaviours, the issue of provocation and reaction, and the diverse motives behind these behaviours. This is an area for further investigation in any future research relating to adult online behaviours and digital resilience. This report also did not explore adult self-perceptions of confidence in dealing with negative online incidents. This critical issue will be examined in the final report in this series about adults online which will provide key insights into adult digital confidence, literacy and online safety information needs.

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