About one in five individuals has already been the victim of cyberbullying through social media, as per the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men research.
Sexist attacks make up a large part of this online harassment. The Deputy Director of the Institute, Liesbet Stevens, mentioned in the press release, “People admit that they have crossed the line and treated others meanly online surprisingly easily. People sometimes seem to forget that behind that screen are real people. Online bullying can have a huge negative impact.”
The survey discovered that age is a crucial factor. Cyberbullying has already affected one in five young people. There is a significant need for boosting knowledge in this area among young teens, who appear to be inadequately aware of the boundaries of appropriate behaviour in the digital sphere.
The survey also demonstrates how many people do not appear to be aware that their online behaviour may lead to criminal charges.
A small minority appear to view social media as a constant combat zone in which everything should be permitted. People get carried away in a conversation, frequently regret their scathing remarks after the fact, and hunt for a way to apologise.
However, Stevens emphasised that social media is a part of the public realm, including the law. “So you may actually be held guilty of criminal offences by threatening someone with rape or publishing someone else’s nude photographs on it.”