Study: Slurs still litter social websites, but such language is increasingly unacceptable

Some people's attitudes toward hurtful language online might be changing

Discriminatory language is as pervasive on sites like Facebook and Twitter as it was a couple of years ago, but fewer teens and young adults seem to be OK with that, a recent survey found.

About half of young people reported seeing discriminatory language or images posted on social networking sites, according to the results of a survey released Wednesday by the Associated Press-National Opinion Research Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV. Roughly the same findings were made in a 2011 survey.

The language might include misogynistic and homophobic words and phrases such as "that's so gay." Many young people use such language, the survey found, to try to be funny or because they think it's cool.

But that thinking might be changing. Compared to 2011, nearly 20 percent fewer teenagers and people in their early 20s said it was OK for them and their friends to use discriminatory language around each other, even when they know they don't mean it, the survey found.

Also, nearly 80 percent of young people said it's important for people who use slurs or discriminatory language online to be held accountable for their actions, according to the survey.

The AP-NORC center's survey was conducted to get a better look at discrimination and bullying trends online, and to see how teenagers and young adults respond to it. Some of the groups most frequently targeted by discriminatory language are people who are overweight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, those who question their gender identity, blacks and women, the survey found. The most popular sites for hurtful language were YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and gaming networks like Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.

However, it's unclear from the survey results whether teenagers and young adults would really do anything to stop the use of such language, based on the survey results. Less than half said they would intervene if they saw someone using discriminatory language or images on social media, a 15 percent decline from 2011, the survey found.

Sixty percent said they would take action if the language were used in person. But whether it's online or in the real world, many said they wouldn't intervene because they wouldn't feel comfortable doing so.

Tumblr, Snapchat and Reddit had less discriminatory language than other social media sites, according to the survey.

The survey included more than 1,200 people ages 14-24 who were interviewed in September and October.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Microsoft's Pip Arthur

​In this latest episode of our conversations over a cuppa with CMO, we catch up with the delightful Pip Arthur, Microsoft Australia's chief marketing officer and communications director, to talk about thinking differently, delivering on B2B connection in the crisis, brand purpose and marketing transformation.

More Videos

Great content and well explained. Everything you need to know about Digital Design, this article has got you covered. You may also check ...

Ryota Miyagi

Why the art of human-centred design has become a vital CX tool

Read more

Interested in virtual events? If you are looking for an amazing virtual booth, this is definitely worth checking https://virtualbooth.ad...

Cecille Pabon

Report: Covid effect sees digital events on the rise long-term

Read more

Thank you so much for sharing such an informative article. It’s really impressive.Click Here & Create Status and share with family

Sanwataram

Predictions: 14 digital marketing predictions for 2021

Read more

Nice!https://www.live-radio-onli...

OmiljeniRadio RadioStanice Uzi

Google+ and Blogger cozy up with new comment system

Read more

Awesome and well written article. The examples and elements are good and valuable for all brand identity designs. Speaking of awesome, ch...

Ryota Miyagi

Why customer trust is more vital to brand survival than it's ever been

Read more

Blog Posts

A Brand for social justice

In 2020, brands did something they’d never done before: They spoke up about race.

Dipanjan Chatterjee and Xiaofeng Wang

VP and principal analyst and senior analyst, Forrester

Determining our Humanity

‘Business as unusual’ is a term my organisation has adopted to describe the professional aftermath of COVID-19 and the rest of the tragic events this year. Social distancing, perspex screens at counters and masks in all manner of situations have introduced us to a world we were never familiar with. But, as we keep being reminded, this is the new normal. This is the world we created. Yet we also have the opportunity to create something else.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

Should your business go back to the future?

In times of uncertainty, people gravitate towards the familiar. How can businesses capitalise on this to overcome the recessionary conditions brought on by COVID? Craig Flanders explains.

Craig Flanders

CEO, Spinach

Sign in