Harassment—from garden-variety name calling to more threatening behavior— is a common part of online life that colors the experiences of many web users.Fully 73% of adult internet users have seen someone be harassed in some way online and 40% have personally experienced it, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.
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Social media is the most common scene of both types of harassment, although men highlight online gaming and comments sections as other spaces they typically encounter harassment.
Those who exclusively experience less severe forms of harassment report fewer emotional or personal impacts, while those with more severe harassment experiences often report more serious emotional tolls.
Those who responded to their most recent incident with online harassment took the following steps: Regardless of whether a user chose to ignore or respond to the harassment, people were generally satisfied with their outcome.
Some 83% of those who ignored it and 75% of those who responded thought their decision was effective at making the situation better.
After-effects of online harassment: Asked how upsetting their most recent experience with harassment was, the responses ran a spectrum from being quite jarring to being of no real consequence: Taken together, half found their most recent experience with online harassment a little or not at all upsetting.
But a significant minority, 27%, found the experience extremely or very upsetting.Taken together, this means half of those who have experienced online harassment did not know the person involved in their most recent incident.Women and young adults were more likely than others to experience harassment on social media.Women were more likely than men to find their most recent experience with online harassment extremely or very upsetting—38% of harassed women said so of their most recent experience, compared with 17% of harassed men.Again, there were differences in the emotional impact of online harassment based on the level of severity one had experienced in the past.Fully 65% of young internet users have been the target of at least one of the six elements of harassment that were queried in the survey. Young women, those 18-24, experience certain severe types of harassment at disproportionately high levels: 26% of these young women have been stalked online, and 25% were the target of online sexual harassment.