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article imageNew research: Internet harassment — online abuse investigated

By Lesley Lanir     Oct 22, 2014 in Internet
Washington - New research published today finds that 73 percent of internet users have witnessed online harassment and 40 percent have experienced it personally.
Types of harassment found are offensive name calling, embarrassment, physical threats, sexual harassment and stalking.
Findings of Pew Research Center’s first survey of over 3000 respondents on internet harassment show that it is a common part of online life affecting the lives of a large number of web users.
Nearly 75 percent of online adults who had seen said they had witnessed at least one of the following occur to others online:
• offensive name calling
• efforts to purposefully embarrass someone
• harassment over a period of time
• physically threats
• sexually harassment
• stalking
The 40 percent of internet users who have personally experienced online harassment said they were the target of at least one of the following online:
• 27 percent have been called offensive names
• 22 percent have had someone try to purposefully embarrass them
• 8 percent have been physically threatened
• 8 percent have been stalked
• 7 percent have been harassed for a sustained period
• 6 percent have been sexually harassed
The report states that half of those who experienced online harassment that strangers or people whose identity was thought to be fake committed their most recent experience of harassment.
The research has uncovered two clear yet overlapping categories of online harassment. The first, less severe and often ignored, includes name-calling and attempts to embarrass people.
The second category of harassment targets a smaller segment of the online public but involves more severe experiences such as being the target of physical threats, harassment over a sustained period of time, stalking, and sexual harassment.
Overall the findings show that men are more likely to experience name-calling and embarrassment, while young women are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and stalking leading to more serious emotional tolls.
The data shows that women were more likely than men to find their most recent experience with online harassment extremely or very upsetting — 38 percent of harassed women as compared with 17 percent of harassed men.
Social media is the most common internet environment for both types of harassment, although men note that online gaming and comments sections as other online scenes where they will come across harassment.
Read the full report for more on the subject of internet harassment.
More about internet harassment, Sexual harassment, Stalking, namecalling, physical threats
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