New Zealanders share their views about what they see on screen and online

June 29, 2022

New Zealanders are seeing harmful content and it worries them, says a new research report by Te Mana Whakaatu – Classification Office, released today.

Acting Chief Censor Rupert Ablett-Hampson said the research, based on a nationally representative survey conducted by Kantar, sought views on the classification system and about potential harms in movies, games, and online content.

“Most of us watch shows and films and play games for entertainment and that’s a good thing. However we also know there are harms in content so we decided to explore that. Also we know content harms are not limited to commercial entertainment products like movies or games, so we also asked people about what they see online,” said Mr Ablett-Hampson

“New Zealanders think harmful content on screen and online is a real problem, whether for themselves, their loved ones, or the wider community. Concerns about our tamariki and rangatahi are widespread, but this isn’t just a problem for children and young people.

“Harmful or offensive content can be hard to avoid at any age, and what people see can have a real impact on their own wellbeing. In one way or another, we’re all affected.

“Apart from entertainment there were other positives too – for example most participants agreed that movies and shows can help families talk about difficult or sensitive topics.”

Key findings are:

  • New Zealanders are concerned about children and young people seeing harmful content.
  • Most people think it’s hard to protect our kids online.
  • It’s common for people of all ages to see harmful content.
  • New Zealanders support regulation of harmful online content.

“This research comes at a good time as the Government has commissioned a review of media and online content regulation. The review aims to design and implement a new approach to content regulation that minimises the risk of harm to New Zealanders,” said Rupert Ablett-Hampson.

“People have told us there’s a lot that can be done to make things better including stronger regulation, better technical solutions, education, and tech/social media companies to take more responsibility and we hope these insights will help inform the Government review.”

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