Study shows issues with online harassment

A study by a Shippensburg University faculty member shows that users of social media often experience some kind of online victimization.

Dr. Billy Henson, assistant professor of criminal justice, conducted the study, “Security in the 21st Century: Examining the Link Between Online Social Network Activity, Privacy, and Interpersonal Victimization.”

In it, Henson attempts to pinpoint why social media users experience online victimization and how they can be better protected. Online victimization includes repeated unwanted contact, harassment, unwanted sexual advances and threats of physical violence.

The study, conducted at a large Midwest urban university, found that 42 percent of social network users experienced some kind of interpersonal victimization while online. It also showed that women are nearly twice as likely to be victimized and users are more than twice as likely to experience victimization if they allow strangers to have access to their profiles.

Henson offered some tips to reduce the chances of being victimized: 

  • Don’t accept friend requests from strangers
  • Don’t post personal identifying information
  • Avoid having multiple social networking accounts
  • Limit the number of updates and photos you post to your account