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Negative online experiences

Young people — 8 to 17 years

The nasty stuff

The most common negative online experiences reported by young people:

  • 33% unwanted contact/content
  • 21% social exclusion 
  • 21% threats and abuse
  • 18% damage to reputation
  • 14% fraud and viruses
  • 8% lack of consent

The highest ranking negative impacts 

  • 36% did not feel good about themselves
  • 35% felt emotions like anger, sadness, fear, helplessness 
  • 24% felt left out/losing friends 

But it’s not all bad news! 

65% were able to interpret what had happened to them in a positive way. 

The top three positive responses:

  • 40% became more aware of online risks 
  • 33% became more aware of their real friends 
  • 23% learnt to use the internet in a more balanced way

Managing a negative experience

Actions taken to get through the negative online experience:

  • 24% sought help from formal networks
  • 51% engaged in self-help strategies
  • 71% sought help from informal networks

Young bystanders – witnessing negative online behaviours

  • 92% of bystanders chose to do something!
  • 60% talked about it with their own support networks

When it came to providing material support to others:

  • 16% sought help from formal networks
  • 50% provided direct advice to the victim
  • 15% other actions

Source: Youth and digital dangers, Office of the eSafety Commissioner, 3 May 2018

Data drawn from eSafety’s Youth Digital Participation Survey, using a random sample of 3,017 young people in Australia aged 8 to 17 years in the 12 months to June 2017 (kids 8 to 12 years, teens 13 to 17 years)

More findings from this research

Last updated: 11/11/2021