Tūkino tamariki ā-tuihono

Online child abuse

This is any kind of abuse that happens to a child on the internet.

What it is

Online child abuse can include:

  • grooming
  • sexual abuse
  • sexual exploitation, and
  • emotional abuse.

Online child abuse is different to online bullying.

Learn more about online bullying

How it works

Kids use the internet to research information, watch shows, play games and talk to friends – but sometimes this can expose them to dangerous people or inappropriate material.

Some things you can do to help your children stay safe online include:

  • keep communication open with your children – make sure they know they can come to you if they're upset or uncomfortable about anything that happens online
  • install on your computer which either blocks restricted content so your children cannot access certain sites, or monitors activity so that you can review online behaviour
  • know who your children are talking to online – question any interactions with people your children don't know in real life
  • know which social networking sites your child is on and what information they are posting
  • check that your children understand the dangers of posting personal information on social networking sites
  • do not allow your children to use the computer in private areas of your home
  • if you or your child become suspicious about a person online, stop contact immediately.

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has more information about preventing online child abuse:

Principles to counter online child sexual exploitation and abuse – DIA

Get help

New Zealand Police have a specialist team working to protect children from online child abuse — the Online Child Exploitation Across New Zealand (OCEANZ) team.

OCEANZ liaise directly with anyone who reports online child abuse. They’ll provide advice on what you need to do and how police will investigate your complaint.

We recommend you report online child abuse directly to OCEANZ.

Report online child abuse to OCEANZ

You can also make a report by phoning or visiting your local police station.

Find your nearest police station