Four out of 10 internet users have experienced online harassment, Pew says

Online harassment is no stranger to headline news. Sexism in the video gaming world has spilled over to Twitter in a #Gamergate frenzy — a conversation that’s been tweeted about over one million times within the past month. And in September, leaked nude photos of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence created a public outcry over privacy in the online sphere.

But what’s the reality of online harassment for people on a daily level? Pew Research Center recently found that four out of ten internet users have experienced some form of online harassment. Pew identifies harassment as six categories:

  • Called offensive names
  • Purposefully embarassed
  • Physically threatened
  • Harassed for a sustained period
  • Stalked
  • Sexually harassed

In broad trends, the data shows that men are more likely to experience name-calling and embarrassment, while young women are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and stalking.

Pew found that young women encounter severe forms of online harassment.

Pew study

And in terms of race, 51 percent of African-American internet users and 54 percent of Hispanic internet users have experienced at least “one of six harassment incidents” versus 34% of white internet users.

Of those who have experienced online harassment, 60 percent ignored the situation.

We’re asking: Have you been harassed online? Did you confront the person harassing you, or opt to dismiss the situation altogether? Tell us in the comments below.

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