Harassment—from garden-variety name calling to more threatening behavior— is a common part of online life that colors the experiences of many web 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 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.
Online harassment tends to occur to different groups in different environments with different personal and emotional repercussions.
In broad trends, the data show that men are more likely to experience name-calling and embarrassment, while young women are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and stalking.
Social media is the most common scene of both types of harassment, although men highlight online gaming and comments sections as other spaces they typically encounter harassment.
Those who exclusively experience less severe forms of harassment report fewer emotional or personal impacts, while those with more severe harassment experiences often report more serious emotional tolls.
Who is harassed: Age and gender are most closely associated with the experience of online harassment.