Online Harassment Now Prevalent in the United States

December 30, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. harassment /həˈræs mənt, ˈhær əs mənt/ (n.) – the act of annoying or troubling someone, to the point of physical or emotional damage
Example: The secretary accused her manager of sexual harassment.

2. bother /ˈbɒð ər/ (v.) – to make a person feel troubled or annoyed
Example: I got mad when he bothered me during my break.

3. get back at (someone/somebody) /gɛt bæk ət/ (idiom) – to get revenge or to punish someone who did something wrong
Example: She wants to get back at him for bullying her when they were kids.

4. humiliate /hyuˈmɪl iˌeɪt/ (v.) – to cause embarrassment
Example: The school bully always tries to humiliate other students.

5. repercussion /ˌri pərˈkʌʃ ən, ˌrɛp ər-/ (n.) – a bad result or outcome caused by an action, statement, or event
Example: Taking revenge may have serious repercussions.


Read the text below.
A recent research revealed that online harassment has become common in the United States nowadays.

Online harassment is the behavior in which an online user bothers another person through words or actions, resulting in emotional pain or suffering. According to a research by the Pew Research Center, about 40% of adults in the United States have been harassed on the Internet. Most of them are young adults aged 18 to 29 years old.

The research looked into six different types of online harassment. These are offensive name-calling, intentionally embarrassing other people, consistent harassment over long periods of time, physical threats, stalking, and sexual harassment. Most of these instances happen on social networking sites.

There are various reasons why people do cyberbullying. One of which is because of anger or for revenge. This is when a person uses the Internet in order to get back at someone who had done him or her wrong. Another reason is for entertainment; a person thinks humiliating another person on the Internet is amusing. Some people also do cyberbullying in order to show or prove that they have more power than others.

Online harassment may have serious repercussions, especially to a person’s emotional and psychological health. For instance, it may cause fear, anxiety, and low self-esteem. It may also result in depression, which sometimes causes suicidal thoughts.

In order to stop online harassment and prevent its effects, different states in the US are implementing anti-cyberbullying policies and laws. In fact, about 46 states now have both policies and laws addressed to stop cyberbullying.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         In your opinion, why is online harassment becoming more common in the United States?
·         Aside from those mentioned in the article, what can be the other reasons why people cyberbully or commit online harassment?

Discussion B

·         How do you think cyberbullying affects a person?
·         How else can cyberbullying be avoided?

December 30, 2014