This factsheet presents findings from a study looking at the prevalence of unwanted digital communications in New Zealand during the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.
- This study found a higher prevalence of unwanted digital communications around the time of the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. Of those who reported receiving unwanted digital communications, 4 in 10 indicated that these experiences occurred in the last three months during and/or after lockdown, just prior to completing this survey.
- Some types of unwanted digital communications were more likely than others to be sent during and/or after lockdown. These involved trying to get the person receiving it to hurt themselves or shared their intimate images or recordings without their permission.
- There were demographic differences in the prevalence of unwanted digital communications received during and/or just after the lockdown. Males, 40-49-year-olds, adults with long-term disabilities and those identifying with non-heterosexual orientations were more likely to experience this, while Māori were least likely compared to other ethnicities.
- This study has implications for policy, research, and practice in relation to preparedness for supporting people through such high-impact low-frequency events, including potential future iterations of COVID-19 lockdown. This study’s findings suggest that unexpected health and social events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and compulsory lockdown, are factors that can trigger changes in people’s experiences of online risk from unwanted digital communications.