Hey folks, real important stuff: almost 50% of Americans under the age of 35 have been bullied, harassed or threatened online, or know someone who has, according to a new poll published today.
You may not be surprised to discover that women are targeted more often than men, and Facebook’s by far the most common forum for harassment.
The poll, released by Rad Campaign, Lincoln Park Strategies and myself, shows that harassment’s a problem across populations, affecting 25% of all Americans. And when looking at folks under 35, the number shoots up to 47%. Rad Campaign’s taken the data and broken it up into an infographic.
Here’s some important findings from the poll:
- Women report being personally harassed much more frequently than men – the gender gap’s 57% women to 43% men across all age groups.
- Sexual harassment’s the most common form of harassment – 44% of all incidences), followed by:
- Slurs on a person’s professional ability (28%),
- Racial (23%),
- Religious (18%),
- and Political (16%) insults.
- Surprisingly, the level of sexual harassment’s virtually identical between men (44%) and women (43%).
- 62% of respondents who said they’d been harassed online said it happened on Facebook. And, Twitter came in second at 24%.
- The poll found significant effects of the harassment, including people who said they were scared for their life (29% of those harassed) and were afraid to leave their house (20%).
- More than 2/3 of those harassed online said they knew their harasser in real life. And in those under 35 , that number rose to 72%.
“Some people may think the Internet is a place where they can threaten people without consequences, but online harassment has horrifying real-life effects,” said Allyson Kapin, co-founder of Rad Campaign.
“These poll results show the need for effective responses to the problem at all levels.”
Strangely enough, the poll shows that in only 25% of cases users reported harassment to the social networks where it happened, yet the social networks themselves appear to react when called upon– in 61% of cases, according to the poll, the network shut down the offender’s account.
“The high levels of harassment reported by those under 35, show that this problem will likely continue to grow out of control if not addressed,” said Stefan Hankin, President of Lincoln Park Strategies. “The results from this poll, especially surrounding the long reaction times to reported cases of harassment, point to a need for the social media sites, law enforcement, and us as individuals to start taking this issue more seriously.”
And I agree, the first step toward dealing with unacceptable behavior, understand the problem, then we can get rid of it.
To view the rest of the findings, visit: www.OnlineHarassmentData.org. The data and some solutions to the problem will also be discussed at the Personal Democracy Forum panel: Sex, Lies, and the Internet, beginning at 2pm ET on Thursday, June 6 with Allyson Kapin.
What works for you to stop online harassment, bullying, and threats? More to come…
These results are based on a survey of 1,007 Americans over 18 conducted online from May 20-22, 2014. Margin of error is approximately ±3.09% at the 95% confidence level.
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