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.

Tags social mediainternetFacebooktwittersocial networkingAssociated PressInternet-based applications and servicesMTVNational Opinion Public Research Center

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?