A new Microsoft study found 4 in 10 teenagers and nearly just as many adults have been involved in a bullying incident.
The study, “Civility, Safety and Interaction Online,” polled teens ages 13-17 and adults ages 18-74 about their exposure to 21 different online risks. The risks spanned four broad categories: behavioral, sexual, reputational and personal/intrusive.
Respondents were asked about both online and offline bullying and adults were asked about bullying or harassment both inside and outside the workplace. A total of 16,051 people participated in the study.
Approximately 40% of teen respondents reported being involved in a bullying incident as the target of the bullying, someone who displayed bullying behaviors, or as a bystander. More surprisingly, 37% of adults said they were involved in a bullying incident as well.
Combining both teenagers and adults, 38% of respondents said they were involved, with 19% as the target, 21% as a bystander, and 1% each as both contributor and bully. Those who admitted to either contributing to or exhibiting bullying bbehaviors said they felt social pressure to act (68%) and that they regret their actions (79%).
The study also asked respondents who reported being targets of bullying about what actions they took in response. The most common response was blocking the bully (66%) followed by talking to a friend (54%), ignoring the bully (44%), or telling a trusted adult (42%).
The study also found only 30% of respondents said they told a service provider of the bullying — something Microsoft is encouraging all who use their platforms to do.
“We encourage people who participate in our communities to make us aware of content that is illegal or violates our code of conduct. General research shows that many users are reluctant to report terms-of-service violations because they feel their reports will go unnoticed or they would simply prefer to let someone else do the reporting,” said the company. “At Microsoft, reports are reviewed, evaluated and actioned as appropriate. Depending on the severity of the offense, different Microsoft consumer services undertake different enforcement actions.”
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