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Sunday, Aug 14, 2022

Sexual harassment hits ugly rut online as two in five report unwelcome encounters

Sexual harassment hits ugly rut online as two in five report unwelcome encounters

Forty percent of Hong Kong teenagers have been the victim of online sexual harassment, with many reporting seeing advertisements for pornography, a Save the Children survey found.
The organization surveyed over 1,300 children and teenagers - aged between eight and 17 - across 16 schools.

It found that teenage sexual abuse occurs nearly twice as often online, with four in 10 respondents saying they have encountered at least one instance of unwelcome sexual solicitation or general exposure.

Further, as many as 131,604 secondary students were virtually "flashed" or sexually harassed at least once in the last year.

"Many of these online advances come in the form of sexual advertisements. It is not hard to imagine how upsetting this could be for a young person - especially if they have never encountered a nude image before," the organization said in its report.

Additionally, one in 20 had received requests for racy photos while 10 percent received requests for sexual information. Further, one in 20 respondents were pressured into sexual acts via the internet.

Twenty-eight percent said the sexual content they were exposed to online made them feel uncomfortable or scared.

Among them, half said they were distressed by such content once or twice a year while some described it as a daily occurrence.

Youths who have experienced abuse or neglect are at much greater risk of being revictimized online, the organization warned. Bullying was also touched on in the report, with around one in five teenagers having once been the victim of cyberbullying.

The survey's results also indicated physical and online bullying take place in equal measure among youths.

The organization advised authorities to enact digital-inclusion policies that would ensure all youngsters have equal and safe access to the virtual environment.

It also proposed the creation of an online safety commissioner role and an independent body on online safety.

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