If you’re active on social media, discussion sites, or comment boards, there’s a very high probability that you’re familiar with online harassment – whether you’ve experienced it or simply witnessed it. People can be terrible, and when you give them a cloak of anonymity things become even worse.
Pew Research Center has just put out their first-ever survey entirety focused on online harassment and cyberbullying. What they found is that nearly 3 in 4 (73 percent) of people have seen someone being harassed online, while 40 percent claim to have experienced that harassment themselves.
And when it comes to this harassment, it’s not just name calling. That’s a lot easier to ignore. According to Pew, a large percentage of those harassed report ‘severe’ forms of it.
“Of those who have been harassed online, 55% (or 22% of all internet users) have exclusively experienced the ‘less severe’ kinds of harassment while 45% (or 18% of all internet users) have fallen victim to any of the ‘more severe’ kinds of harassment.” says Pew.
Pew defines these ‘severe’ forms of online harassment as physical threats, stalking, longtime harassment of any kind, and sexual harassment.
Of course, being called an offensive name is still a form of harassment – but stalking and threats of violence take it to a whole other level.
Pew found that men were more likely to experience ‘less-severe’ forms of online harassment, while women were more apt to have to deal with sexual harassment and stalking. Young women (aged 18-24) in particular, are much more likely to be harassed.
Pews’s study is pretty extensive, and you can read it all here.
Image via Pew