A third of kiwi teenagers are skipping meals and staying up in order to spend more time online and nearly half have had conflict with whanau and friends regarding their internet usage.
Netsafe have recently released some new research with some interesting findings. They have found that more than half of New Zealand teens have been exposed to harmful material online including self-harm and suicide material, violent images, hateful content and ways to be very thin.
This confirms that our students are having upsetting experiences online and this is impacting other parts of their life like schooling and their health and wellbeing. The positive news is that young people are recognising this and are reaching out for help.
A very popular app at the moment is TikTok which allows users to create, share and discover short entertaining videos. Videos are suggested and you can follow users and be followed. It encourages users to participate in group challenges. Over 16s can live stream content and over 18s can purchase and give (or receive) virtual gifts. The recommended age to use TikTok is 13+.
One of the main issues for caregivers is that TikTok accounts are public by default, so anyone can see what their children share, but only approved followers can send messages. Most common concerns are that the children can see inappropriate content or be contacted by people they don’t know. We suggest that that you go to the ‘Safety Center’ and check out the ‘Digital Wellbeing’ options.
For more in-depth information we recommend that you explore some of these key news and advice articles: