In a political environment where Americans are stressed and frustrated and antipathy has grown, online venues often serve as platforms for highly contentious or even extremely offensive political debate. And for those who have experienced online abuse, politics is cited as the top reason for why they think they were targeted.
Many individual types of behaviors are on the rise as well. The shares of Americans who say they have been called an offensive name, purposefully embarrassed or physically threatened while online have all risen since 2014. However, the share who have experienced any of the less severe behaviors is largely on par with that of 2017 (37% in 2020 vs. 36% in 2017).
Gender also plays a role in the types of harassment people are likely to encounter online. Overall, men are somewhat more likely than women to say they have experienced any form of harassment online (43% vs. 38%), but similar shares of men and women have faced more severe forms of this kind of abuse. There are also differences across individual types of online harassment in the types of negative incidents they have personally encountered online. Some 35% of men say they have been called an offensive name versus 26% of women, and being physically threatened online is more common occurrence for men rather than women (16% vs. 11%).
Women, on the other hand, are more likely than men to report having been sexually harassed online (16% vs. 5%) or stalked (13% vs. 9%). Young women are particularly likely to have experienced sexual harassment online. Fully 33% of women under 35 say they have been sexually harassed online, while 11% of men under 35 say the same.
While men are somewhat more likely than women to experience harassment online, women are more likely to be upset about it and think it is a major problem. Some 61% of women say online harassment is a major problem, while 48% of men agree. In addition, women who have been harassed online are more than twice as likely as men to say they were extremely or very upset by their most recent encounter (34% vs. 14%). Conversely, 61% of men who have been harassed online say they were not at all or a little upset by their most recent incident, while 36% of women said the same. Overall, 24% of those who have experienced online harassment say that their most recent incident was extremely (10%) or very (14%) upsetting.
There are several demographic differences regarding who has been harassed online for their gender or their race or ethnicity. Among adults who have been harassed online, roughly half of women (47%) say they think they have encountered harassment online because of their gender, whereas 18% of men who have been harassed online say the same. Similarly, about half or more Black (54%) or Hispanic online harassment targets (47%) say they were harassed due to their race or ethnicity, compared with 17% of White targets.
While small shares overall say their harassment was due to their sexual orientation, 50% of lesbian, gay or bisexual adults who have been harassed online say they think it occurred because of their sexual orientation.2 By comparison, only 12% of straight online harassment targets say the same. Lesbian, gay or bisexual online harassment targets are also more likely to report having encountered harassment online because of their gender (54%) compared with their straight counterparts (31%).
Men and White adults who have been harassed online are particularly likely to say this harassment was a result of their political views. Harassed men are a full 15 percentage points more likely than their female counterparts to cite political views as the reason they were harassed online (57% vs. 42%). Similarly, White online harassment targets are 18 points more likely than Black or Hispanic targets to point to their political views as the reason they were targeted for abuse online.
And while there are some partisan differences in citing political views as the perceived catalyst for facing harassment, these differences do not hold when accounting for race and ethnicity. For example, White Democrats and Republicans, including independents who lean toward each respective party, who have been harassed are about equally likely to say their political views were the reason they were harassed (55% vs. 57%).
While social media are the most commonly cited online spaces for both men and women to say they have been harassed, women who have been harassed online are more likely than men to say their most recent experience was on social media (a 13 percentage point gap). On the other hand, men are more likely than women to report their most recent experience occurred while they were using an online forum or discussion site or while online gaming (both with a 13-point gap).
About half of Americans say permanently suspending users if they bully or harass others (51%) or requiring users of these platforms to disclose their real identities (48%) would be very effective in helping to reduce harassment or bullying on social media.
Seven major themes were identified from the focus group data: 1) knowledge of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders; 2) message content and sources; 3) healthcare system; 4) society and culture; 5) partner role; 6) evaluation of risk; and 7) motivation. The findings indicated that although the majority of participants knew not to drink alcohol in pregnancy they had limited information on the specific harmful effects. In addition, routine enquiry and the provision of information by health care professionals were seen as lacking.
The majority of participants were aware that alcohol could cause harm to their developing baby. Although participants knew that alcohol was harmful, several participants declared that they had limited information about the actual effects. Other participants had more awareness and listed physical consequences, such as low birth weight, abnormal facial features, and poor growth as some of the more commonly known effects.
This study revealed a variety of knowledge levels and experiences related to alcohol consumption during pregnancy among Australian participants. Women and their partners were found to have differing views on the risk associated with consuming alcohol, and their evaluation of risk was impaired by conflicting advice and individual differences. In addition, women often reported that they had not received targeted advice or information from health professionals.
Another theme that emerged from the data and of which there is little previous research, is the issue of moderation. It was hard for several of the women in this study to avoid all of the foods and drinks that are not recommended during pregnancy, and this meant that some women would make concessions such as drinking alcohol but avoiding caffeine, or skipping both but eating soft cheese. It needs to be recognised that it is difficult for women to remove a lot of rewarding food and drink whilst pregnant, and that despite being informed of the risks of these substances, they may need help such as providing healthy alternatives (hard cheese, decaf coffee, mocktails etc.). There is limited existing research that explores the notion of moderation ; however, this issue has important clinical significance for health professionals who work with pregnant women and their partners, this would benefit from further exploration. Moreover, several participants felt that there was an overwhelming amount of information to process during pregnancy, particularly with regards to diet and nutrition; this was often very challenging to understand. This further highlights the need for health professionals to provide clear and concise information. This was expressed particularly by first time pregnant women, and there may be a significant difference in the information requirements needed by these expectant mothers when compared to others whom have experienced pregnancy previously.
Despite several months of acclimating to a new reality and societal upheaval spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are struggling to cope with the disruptions it has caused. Nearly 8 in 10 adults (78%) say the coronavirus pandemic is a significant source of stress in their life. And, 2 in 3 adults (67%) say they have experienced increased stress over the course of the pandemic.
Nearly 2 in 3 adults (65%) say the current amount of uncertainty in our nation causes them stress. Further, 3 in 5 (60%) say the number of issues America faces currently is overwhelming to them. This finding speaks to the hardships many Americans may be confronting at this moment. Issues they are stressed about are not going away, they are piling up.
Further, nearly 8 in 10 Gen Z adults (79%) say the future of our nation is a significant source of stress in their life. And while 2 in 3 Gen Z adults (67%) say the 2020 U.S. presidential election is a source of stress, only 64% say they intend to vote in the election (compared with 71% of millennials, 79% of Gen X, 86% of boomers and 90% of older adults who intend to vote).
Nearly 1 in 5 adults (19%) say their mental health is worse than it was at this time last year. By generation, 34% of Gen Z adults report worse mental health, followed by Gen X (21%), millennials (19%), boomers (12%) and older adults (8%). More than half of all adults report they were very restless (53%) or they felt so tired they just sat around and did nothing (52%) in the past two weeks. Further, Gen Z adults are the most likely to report experiencing common symptoms of depression, with more than 7 in 10 noting that in the past two weeks they felt so tired they sat around and did nothing (75%), felt very restless (74%), found it hard to think properly or concentrate (73%), felt lonely (73%) or felt miserable or unhappy (71%).
A decline in social interaction due to the pandemic may be a contributing factor. Despite being considered the most connected generation, Gen Z adults are the most likely to say they have felt very lonely during the pandemic. More than 6 in 10 Gen Z adults (63%) agree with this sentiment, compared with 53% of millennials, 43% of Gen X, 35% of boomers and 17% of older adults. Gen Z adults report these feelings even though more than 8 in 10 (86%) report living in a household with at least one other adults. 2b1af7f3a8