Two-Thirds of Americans Witness Online Harassment and Abuse
by Sue Scheff
July 14, 2017

In a recent PEW Research Survey, Online Harassment, 66% of Americans say they have witnessed some type of harassing behavior directed toward others online, with 39% indicating they have seen others targeted with severe behaviors such as stalking, physical threats, sustained harassment or sexual harassment. The good news is people are starting to take cover (implement basic precautions to protect themselves) and/or become upstanders.

Just over a quarter of Americans, 28% of Americans say that observing the harassment of others has influenced them to set up or adjust their own privacy settings.

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Harassment has also caused 27% of Americans to stop sharing or commenting on posts after witnessing abuse on the platform, while 13% have decided to stop using a social media network all together due to the severity of harassment.

It also can impact adults mental health, while 8% say that even reading the cruelty online, although it isnt targeted at them, makes them very anxious.

Becoming an upstander
We frequently hear the word upstander as it pertains to kids with bullying and cyberbullying, but now grown-ups are understanding the importance of stepping-in online.

Three-in-ten Americans (30%) say they have intervened in some way after witnessing abusive behavior directed toward others online.

This latest survey by PEW Research confirms that no one is immune to digital harassment at any age. This is a reflection of the decline of civility online yet also tells us that people are trying to climb out of it. We can do this 75% of Americans believe it starts with us. Today there are also many resources for adults to turn to for help.



Check out Sue Scheff's forthcoming book, Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate (Sourcebooks) releasing on October 3rd, during National [Cyber]Bullying Prevention Month. From surviving, prevention and overcoming digital disasters, you will hear inspiring stories from people that came through dark places and top experts from around the globe. Pre-order today.