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Latest Research on Internet usage

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A recent survey conducted among 1,001 New Zealanders aged 18 and over has shed light on the country’s internet habits and opinions.

The findings reveal that a significant portion of the population, nearly two-thirds (63%), spend between two to four hours daily on the internet for personal use, not including work-related activities. Surprisingly, nearly half of this time (48%) is dedicated to browsing through social media platforms.

The 2023 survey also introduced new questions, one of which explored Kiwis’ views on the internet’s influence on cultural beliefs and values. The opinions were split, with just over a third feeling the internet had a positive impact, slightly less than a third perceiving a negative influence, and the remaining participants viewing the impact as neutral.

When it comes to communication, New Zealanders predominantly use SMS (text messaging), Facebook, and Facebook Messenger. However, the survey noted a decline in the daily use of SMS to the lowest point ever recorded, with only 49% using it daily, a drop from the 55-60% range seen in previous years. Instagram’s daily usage also saw a significant decrease, matching levels observed at the start of the pandemic, with only 28% of participants using it daily. The usage of other platforms like TikTok, Twitter, and WeChat has similarly diminished.

Despite these declines, Facebook remains the most popular social media platform, with 59% of respondents using it daily, albeit slightly down from 61% in 2022. Facebook Messenger follows closely, with a slight increase to 53% daily usage from 52% the previous year. WhatsApp’s daily usage also saw a marginal increase to 24% from 23% in 2022. Additionally, 58% of New Zealanders still use SMS texting as a daily communication tool.

The survey also highlighted a generational divide in attitudes toward online security. Younger individuals are less concerned about security risks (59%) compared to the national average (69%) and are generally less proactive in taking precautionary measures. However, they are more likely to encounter online harm and harassment, with 25% of young New Zealanders reporting such experiences, compared to an 18% national average.

On a positive note, young people are more informed about where to report harmful online content, with 53% aware of the appropriate channels.

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