4 of 10 Americans have experienced online harassment

Pew Research Center reports…

A Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults in September finds that 41% of Americans have personally experienced some form of online harassment in at least one of the six key ways that were measured. And while the overall prevalence of this type of abuse is the same as it was in 2017, there is evidence that online harassment has intensified since then.

Here is how they define online harassment…

This report measures online harassment using six distinct behaviors:

  • Offensive name-calling
  • Purposeful embarrassment
  • Stalking
  • Physical threats
  • Harassment over a sustained period of time
  • Sexual harassment

Respondents who indicate they have personally experienced any of these behaviors online are considered targets of online harassment in this report. Further, this report distinguishes between “more severe” and “less severe” forms of online harassment. Those who have only experienced name-calling or efforts to embarrass them are categorized in the “less severe” group, while those who have experienced any stalking, physical threats, sustained harassment or sexual harassment are categorized in the “more severe” group.

Younger people have more experience with harassment. Men report more harassment; women report a greater impact of harassment. Pew did offer up some views in helping curb the program…

About half of Americans say permanently suspending users if they bully or harass others (51%) or requiring users of these platforms to disclose their real identities (48%) would be very effective in helping to reduce harassment or bullying on social media.

Around four-in-ten say criminal charges for users who bully or harass (43%) or social media companies proactively deleting bullying or harassing posts (40%) would be very effective.

I look forward to their next survey and wonder how they will tackle harassment that starts online and move offline – especially when it’s a group targeted and not an individual.

This entry was posted in Research, Security by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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