By Melony Roy

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A major new study is now calling online harassment a feature of everyday life.

New data from the Pew Research Center has found that more than 40 percent of Americans have experienced online harassment.

Mauve Duggan is the lead researcher.

“Social media is the most common place that people experience online harassment,” said Duggan. Among those who have been harassed 58 percent say that their most recent incident occurred on social media and this is more popular space for harassment than other places like the comment section of a website, dating sites, and gaming sites.”

Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed believe online harassment is a “major problem” but are divided on how to address the issue.

“We found that 79 percent of Americans say that online companies have a responsibility to step in when harassment occurs on their platform but they’re also looking to law enforcement, elected officials and even each other,” said Duggan. “We saw that bystanders and witnesses to harassment are one of the groups that Americans say should play a major role in addressing this issue.”

Another takeaway from the study is that online harassment can have severe offline effects– ranging from mental and emotional stress to reputation damage or even fear for one’s safety.

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