The ease and anonymity provided by social media and email can sometimes be the perfect breeding ground for sexual harassment. The American Association of University Women has come out with some startling findings regarding sexual harassment, showing that 3 out of 10 students have been harassed via text, email, or social media.
Though this number is a little lower than the reported 44% of students who say they have been harassed in person, electronic harassment is definitely a real problem that is on the rise. The study also found that young women are more likely than boys to be harassed in person as well as electronically.
The AAUW explains why electronic media has become the perfect avenue for harassers saying, “Anonymity, instantaneousness, the ability to escalate quickly, and intrusiveness are features of the Internet and social media that can enable or increase bullying and sexual harassment. A lack of specific physical locale may also convince bullies or harassers that they are beyond the school’s legal reach -- as they sometimes are.”
According to the New York Daily News, sexual harassment has become a daily part of life for the city’s students. Teens report unwelcome touching, seeing naked photos of classmates posted online, and explicit comments as just a few of the ways they feel sexually harassed. Semi Lee, a senior at a New York City high school discusses how this type of harassment has effected her. She says, “I don’t brush it off. It stays with me. It’s just that last thing you think about before you go to sleep.”
It’s no wonder this teen finds it difficult to escape the effects of sexual harassment when teens are dealing with it both at school and at home via electronic media.
What do you think can be done to lower the rate of students being sexually harassed in person as well as via electronic media?
Have you or a teen you know had to deal with the effects of sexual harassment?