A shocking 25% of American adults have been bullied, harassed or threatened online, or know someone who has, according to a new poll of 1,007 Americans over the age of 18 conducted in May 2014.
- Online harassment happens all over the Web
- The social network where the most people reported being harassed is Facebook with 62%, followed by Twitter in distant second with 24%
- The type of harassment that is greatest online is sexual harassment
- When asked why they ignore online harassment when they see it, 42% answered that they simply didn’t know how to respond effectively
- The majority of people (62%) think the laws regarding online harassment either non-existent or aren’t strong enough
While keeping in mind that this is a self-reporting survey, the findings nevertheless illustrate the seriousness of online harassment and attacks, and the fact that people are increasingly becoming disenchanted with the negative behavior they experience.
We know online harassment and attacks are a huge social problem. We know they are a huge social GLOBAL problem. And it’s up to all of us to help turn things around.
While the steps needed to make this happen aren’t simply or easy, and also won’t solve the problem overnight, they will be concrete actions towards creating a positive cultural shift in online communication.
Here are some starting points:
- Educate the public about the depth and severity of this problem through awareness campaigns and first-person accounts of the emotional, reputational and financial damage such attacks can cause.
- Help law enforcement members become fluent in social media and the various SM tools so they recognize online harassment and can better assist those who come forward asking for help.
- Empower bystanders to help deescalate situations.
- Create a dedicated “Friends Brigade” comprised of of individuals who offer public support to those being unfairly attacked online.
- Ask social networks to introduce official codes of conduct that users must sign in exchange for being able to access and use the platforms.
- Introduce state and federal legislation penalizing some of the most egregious online behavior, such as revenge porn.
- Financially support the creation of the free CiviliNation Academy for Online Conflict Management, which will feature hundreds of videos showcasing a combination of animated videos that teach core concepts and videos offering interviews with experts in online reputation management, privacy protection, identity management and legal solutions.