Online harassment becomes major problem in U.S.: research

Updated 2017-07-13 13:49:41 Xinhua

Online harassment has now become a "feature" of online life in the United States, as researchers found that roughly four in 10 Americans have suffered from cyberbullying.

The latest report titled Online Harassment 2017 showed that among the 4,248 respondents, 41 percent of Americans, who participated in a survey by Washington-based Pew Research Center, have been personally subjected to online abuse.

Of the participants, 62 percent deemed online harassment as a major problem. Up to 66 percent of the participants said they have witnessed cyberbullying conducted to others, especially on social media sites.

Notably, nearly 18 percent said they have been imposed with severe harassing behaviors online, such as physical threats, stalking and sexual harassment.

The study also found that online abuse has caused a range of physical, psychological and emotional harms, including mental or emotional stress, reputation damage, and even fear for one's personal safety.

Besides, around 27 percent of the survey respondents said they decided not to publish online posts after witnessing others being harassed.

When it comes to how to prevent and combat online harassment, the survey suggested that online companies are expected to shoulder more responsibilities.

A majority, or 79 percent, of the respondents believe that online services are obliged to step in online harassing behaviors done on their platforms. Yet 43 percent viewed that law enforcement should lay more emphasis on relevant issues.

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