Monday, February 9, 2015

Online Harassment: Statistics and Types

Contributing author Mike Miranda

Commonly known as ‘cyber bullying,’ online harassment has increased due to social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, where users have unlimited connections to the greater global world. Therefore, it is no surprise that people who use the Internet can unknowingly become victims or contribute to online harassment. Thus, cyber bullying has skyrocketed internationally and globally.

The largest study done on online harassment by the Pew Internet Research Center (PIRC), found that 73% of people polled saw harassment online and 40% admitted that they were victims of online harassment. This is a relatively high statistic and those who witnessed the harassment of others online confessed that harassment existed in many forms: 60% reported offensive name calling, 53% reported they saw intentional embarrassment, 25% reported physical threats against others, 19% reported sexual harassment, and 19% reported seeing long term periods of cyber stalking/harassment (PIRC). 

More statistics from the study also found that people who were victimized by online harassment reported different types of harassment as well: 27% reported name-calling, 22% reported intentional embarrassment, 8% reported physical threats, 8% reported being stalked, and 6% reported sexual harassment (PIRC).

These statistics show that online harassment can be split into two overlapping categories: name-calling /embarrassment (less severe) and being a target of threats/sustained harassment/stalking/and sexual harassment (more severe). The key finding in the study revealed that women are more likely to experience more severe forms of harassment and men were more likely to experience less severe forms. In comparison, both forms of sexual harassment are just as damaging and online harassment varies when it comes to the sex of the victim involved.

Social media has brought a boom in Internet users, thus creating a place for online harassment to thrive and easily be committed. These statistics are telling and reveal that online harassment is a serious issue that must be taken into consideration when it comes to acceptable and inappropriate use of workplace technology. This also means that people must be more aware of the types and statistics of the harassment that takes place in the very public sector of the Internet. But in order to do so, people must be educated in the risks of entering into transactions that take place when they decide to sign online.

Mike Miranda is a writer and blogger for Clear Law Institute. He specializes in employment law and workplace rights articles.

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