A new study from Pew Research Center shows that 40% of web users in the United States have been harassed online. Almost three-fourths of internet users surveyed also claimed they have seen harassment online. Such harassment included name-calling and sexual harassment.
A closer look at Pew’s latest study
Although the group’s study discovered men were more likely to be harassed online, it was young women who experienced the worst of it. The report’s lead author Maeve Duggan offered, “Men were more likely overall to experience online harassment, but younger women faced more severe forms of harassment at a rate disproportionate to their peers.”
About a quarter of women ages 18 to 24 report they were sexually harassed online. Over a quarter of the same group also report being stalked online. Both women and men report receiving about the same rate of physical threats.Social media websites like Facebook and YouTube are some of the most common places internet users experience harassment, but comment sections and websites like Reddit are also common websites for harassment.
A rise in online harassment
Pew Research Center was prompted to look into internet harassment after GamerGate showed the severity of online abuse. Last summer, the daughter of the late legendary actor Robin Williams experienced internet harassment on Twitter. The president for National Organization for Women, Terry O’Neill believes internet companies should be more transparent and provide users more information with the overall number of harassment reports they receive.
60% of those who experienced online harassment chose to ignore the abuse, but 40% decided to take action. Out of that group, 47% confronted the other user online. 44% of those users unfriended or blocked the other user. 22% reported the person to the website. 18% discussed the problem online in hopes to gain support. 13% deleted their profile or changed their username and 10% left an online forum. 8% stopped attending online events and 5% reported the problem to law officials.