Online Digital Child Exploitation

The Internet is a fantastic means of communication and source of information. Never before has global communication been so easy and so beneficial. Medical staff can now discuss the latest operating methods with colleagues on the other side of the world, students have several libraries of information at their fingertips and shoppers can purchase exotic goods without ever leaving home.

There is however, a small minority of people who use the Internet for harmful illegal activities, in particular those individuals who trade and distribute objectionable (banned) material.

The Department of Internal Affairs’ inspectors undertake the role of investigating New Zealand Internet websites and newsgroups and enforcing the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 (‘The Act).

We take a proactive role to prosecute New Zealanders who trade objectionable (banned) material via the Internet. If a publication is categorised as ‘objectionable’ it is automatically banned by The Act.

For more information, download the PDF Online Digital Child Exploitation - Information brochure (PDF, 575KB)

On this page:

‘Objectionable’ material

The Act defines a publication as objectionable (banned) if it promotes or supports:

  • The sexual exploitation of children
  • Sexual violence or coercion
  • Torture or extreme violence
  • Bestiality
  • Sexual conduct involving the body of a dead person
  • The use of urine or excrement in association with degrading or sexual conduct

For more information on objectionable material visit Objectionable and Restricted Material.

What to do if you find objectionable material by accident

If you view objectionable material by accident, just leave the site immediately. If you have recorded the name of the site you can notify the Digital Child Exploitation Team at the Department of Internal Affairs or fill in our online Content Complaint Form:

For more information about staying safe online visit, Child Safety Online.

Code of conduct

Every business, school and university can implement a Code of Conduct or Acceptable Use Policy to clearly set out what is considered appropriate use of the Internet.  

 Draft Code of Conduct is available from our website. 

The draft is only a guideline. Having a Code of Conduct will not protect you from prosecution action so organisations should always consider getting their own legal advice. (Note section 138 of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act – Liability of employers.)

All people who have Internet access through an organisation should be made aware of their responsibilities while on the Internet.

For home users, an awareness of what is considered to be objectionable, the type of material that will have an age restriction, and an understanding of the penalties involved will lead to a safer Internet experience.

More information

The  Digital Child Exploitation Team at the Department of Internal Affairs are available to answer any queries you might have or to provide advice about safety on the Internet.


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