by Symantec on Wednesday released new research that reveals eight out of 10 people surveyed have experienced some form of online harassment
in India, with the most common forms being abuse and insults (63 per cent) and malicious gossip and rumours (59 per cent).
The cyber security company said that the study aims to understand the country’s exposure to online harassment, ranging from unwanted conflict, trolling, character assassination, and cyber-bullying
to sexual harassment
and threats of physical violence, along with the impact of such experiences.
Incidence of online harassment
were particularly high for people in the under-40 age group, with 65 per cent reporting online abuse and insults. Frighteningly, 87 per cent of people with disabilities or poor mental health and 77 per cent of those with weight issues reported experiences of abuse or insults online.
“Our latest research shows that more serious forms of online harassment
including threats of physical violence (45 per cent), cyberbullying (44 per cent) and cyberstalking (45 per cent) are very high. It is also worrying that for over 40 per cent of incidences of cyberbullying and nearly half of all cases of cyber-stalking
people said that the perpetrator was a stranger. Indeed, many said that they had no idea of the true identity of the person who was bullying them,” said Ritesh Chopra, Country Manager, Norton
While the survey shows that men and women reported similar experiences of online harassment
it was apparent that men under 40 and people with disabilities and poor mental health were more susceptible to some of the more serious threats. A staggering 49 per cent of men and 71 per cent of people with disabilities or poor mental health reported receiving threats of physical violence, while 50 per cent of men and 67 per cent of people with disabilities or poor mental health reported at least one incidence of cyberbullying.
By region, the highest threats of physical violence were reported by victims from Mumbai (51 per cent), Delhi (47 per cent) and Hyderabad (46 per cent) with Delhi victims (51 per cent) experiencing the highest incidence of cyber-bullying.
was also a concern for the under 40s, experienced by 40 per cent of this age group. It is more commonly encountered by women than men but those who were most likely to report this form of harassment were people who had disabilities or mental health issues, with 69 per cent reporting being victim to this kind of abuse. Being sent sexual comments and messages on social media as well as receiving disturbing emails were the most common complaints.
Reports of sexual harassment
were highest by victims from Delhi and Mumbai (43 per cent) followed by Kolkata (37 per cent) and Bangalore (36 per cent).