February 13, 2012

The online experience

Pew Research recently came out with a new report concerning "The tone of life on social networking sites." You can find the full findings here, but I will share a few highlights:

  • The overall social and emotional climate of social networking sites (SNS) is a very positive one
  • At the same time, notable proportions of SNS users do witness bad behavior on those sites
  • 49% of SNS-using adults said they have seen mean or cruel behavior displayed by others at least occasionally
  • 13% of adult SNS users said that someone had acted in a mean or cruel way towards them on a social networking site in the past 12 months

Thirteen percent may not seem like much on the surface. But consider that more than 750 million people use Facebook, over 300 million have Twitter accounts and close to 100 million using Google+. And the poll doesn't cover websites with member forums, a format well known for cyber bullying behavior.

I found it interesting to compare the Pew results to the poll I conducted last year with members of The Mom Pledge Community:

At that time, the focus of The Mom Pledge was on mom bloggers. We have since widened our scope to include all moms who spend time online. I imagine if I had posed questions about social media sites in general, rather than just blogs, the numbers would have been even higher. Especially with the behavior I see on Facebook every single day.

Both polls demonstrate adult cyber bullying is a problem. And believe me, I am questioned on this regularly. I have also been criticized for focusing on mom-to-mom bullying. There are those who feel it is not worthy of attention, or that it draws attention away from more deserving causes. I respectfully disagree.

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