You don't have to look hard to find instances of harassment online. Log onto Twitter and look at the comment threads on posts by any outspoken journalist or celebrity, and you'll see countless examples of cyber bullying.
According to a new survey from the Pew Research Center, four in 10 people (41%) report that they've been harassed online and 66% of people have seen someone else be harassed. Pew only surveyed 4,248 people, so that number could actually be quite a bit higher.
Pew provided two categories for harassment. The "less severe behaviors" category included "offensive name-calling" and "purposeful embarrassment." The "more severe behaviors" category included "physical threats," "sustained harassment," "stalking," and "sexual harassment." Out of the over 4,000 people surveyed, 18% reported that they'd been the victim of more severe harassment and 22% said they'd been the victim of less severe harassment.
As Slate reports, young adults aged 18 to 29 are no strangers to harassment, with two-thirds of people stating they'd been victimized. The reasons for harassment varied, with 14% of Americans claiming they were targeted for their political views, 9% saying they were harassed because of their appearance, and 8% of people reporting they were singled out for either their race/ethnicity or gender.
Though 30% of people surveyed said that they've interfered after seeing someone bullied, the survey made an alarming finding that shows the different views on online harassment between men and women.
For example, 70% of women surveyed said they believed online harassment was a "major problem" compared to only 54% of men. Another question asked participants if they thought offensive content online was "taken too seriously." To that, 49% of women and 64% of men agreed it was, while 50% of women and only 35% of men said such content was "too often excused as not a big deal." The percentage of young men (18 to 29) who said offensive posts are taken too seriously was much higher, with 73% reporting the sentiment.
Pew also found that more men (56%) believe it's important to be able to say whatever they want online than it is to make others feel safe (43%) compared to women, who totaled 36% and 63%, respectively.
People also reported that online harassment made them anxious or depressed.
If you are experiencing anxiety and are in need of crisis support, please call the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.