Thursday, October 23, 2014
Online Harassment: A Pew Research Internet Project
This is an interesting study done by the Pew Research Internet Project. In view of the recent sexual attacks by conservative bloggers Radical Redneck and Rusty Shackleford on P.E.'s blog host, as well as harassment from the past by conservative commenters (Thersites and an Anonymous troll) that forced P.E. to go to comment moderation, this study is a very useful tool in understanding the causes and effects of internet harassment.
BY MAEVE DUGGAN
Summary of Findings Harassment—
From garden-variety name calling to more threatening behavior—Online Harassment 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. Pew Research asked respondents about six different forms of online harassment.
Those who witnessed harassment said they had seen at least one of the following occur to others online:
60% of internet users said they had witnessed someone being called offensive names
53% had seen efforts to purposefully embarrass someone
25% had seen someone being physically threatened
24% witnessed someone being harassed for a sustained period of time
19% said they witnessed someone being sexually harassed
18% said they had seen someone be stalked
Those who have personally experienced online harassment said they were the target of at least one of the following online:
27% of internet users have been called offensive names
22% have had someone try to purposefully embarrass them
8% have been physically threatened 8% have been stalked
7% have been harassed for a sustained period
6% have been sexually harassed
In Pew Research Center’s first survey devoted to the subject, two distinct but overlapping categories of online harassment occur to internet users. The first set of experiences is somewhat less severe: it includes name-calling and embarrassment. It is a layer of annoyance so common that those who see or experience it say they often ignore it.
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.
Of those who have been harassed online, 55% (or 22% of all internet users) have exclusively experienced the “less severe” kinds of harassment while 45% (or 18% of all internet users) have fallen victim to any of the “more severe” kinds of harassment.
READ MORE HERE.
CHART OF THE DAY: Women experience particularly severe forms of online harassment.
Timothy B. Lee recently interviewed legal scholar Danielle Citron, who suggests that things have gotten better:
TBL: You’ve been writing about this issue [of online harassment] since 2009. How do you see public attitudes shifting on this issue since you started?
DC: It’s been amazing, I have to say. I’m still not totally sold on the idea that we all agree this stuff is bad. But social attitudes have really shifted in the last two years. I gave a presentation at Yale in early 2008 about the problem of cybermobs and online harassment, and at the time the pushback to do anything about this was so profound. It was like “look, don’t touch the internet, you’re going to break it. Regulating it is going to cause more problems than good.” In the last couple of years, this phenomenon of revenge porn has brought alive the harm [RADICAL REDNECK]— maybe just because people can envision people they care about experiencing it.