HONR EDucates the Public
Social Media and Internet Users
A recent Nielson Company Audience Report estimated that the average American adult spends nearly 11 hours daily on their computer, laptop, tablet, or smart phone. Essentially half of our day is spent looking at a screen and interacting with what we see. Yet despite the fact that we are increasingly connected to and dependent upon the internet, most people are surprisingly unaware of their legal rights and their responsibilities online. This lack of awareness can have devastating consequences for users and for those with whom they come in contact online.
Despite epic data breeches, prolific identity theft, and the well publicized sale of users personal data online, people largely believe that they are anonymous online. This feeling of anonymity leads many to say and do things to people online that they would never do face-to-face. Additionally, many people erroneously believe that the First Amendment gives them the absolute right to express themselves without parameters, online. As a result, people either unintentionally break the law, trample on the rights of other people, and participate in behavior that is dangerous to themselves and others or they maliciously inflict harm on others, for sport. In fact, an increasing number of social media users claim that their chief means of stress release is to troll others and attack people anonymously online, with a staggering 28% of respondents of a recent YouGov poll reporting that they had participated on trolling, attacking, or cyber bullying a stranger on social media.
Through ignorance or malice, the sheer volume of online aggression has had widespread and devastating consequences. Roughly 41% of respondents to a 2017 Pew Internet Poll reported that they had been the victim of online harassment or cyber bullying. With 1 in 5 reporting intensive courses of harassment including prolonged bullying campaigns, sexual harassment, threats of physical violence, revenge behaviors, mobbing, stalking, and offline aggressions.
At HONR, we believe that the best way to minimize cyber hate, harassment and other aggressive online behavior is through education. An educated populous is less likely to violate the rights of others inadvertently or to use social media to purposefully inflict harm on others, simply because they are made aware of the consequences. To that end, HONR creates educational programs focusing on internet usage, rights, and responsibilities for the general public. We are also working closely with internet providers and social media services to provide brief, educational videos for users to better understand their “Terms of Service” rules. Additionally, HONR is creating special programs for different age groups, including those appropriate for youth clubs and classrooms.