Women (58%) are more likely than adult men (42%) to value a welcoming, safe online environment. 50% of women versus 38% of men feel people too often excuse offensive material, according to a US study by the Pew Research Center. Teen girls are also more likely than teen boys to prioritize feeling welcome and safe and to say offensive content is too often excused.
Overall, 62% of teens say people being able to feel welcome and safe online is more important than people being able to speak their minds freely online, while 38% hold the opposite view. By comparison, half of adults say a welcoming and safe online environment is more important, while 47% put more value on people being able to speak their minds freely online.
57% of adults ages 18 to 29 favour the idea that people should be able to speak their minds freely online. Those 65 and older, by contrast, are the only age group whose views are similar to teens’: 58% of these Americans say feeling welcome and safe online is more important, the Pew says.
The researcher stress that their survey come at a time of bipartisan calls for tech companies to address cyberbullying, court cases over consequences of things said online and discussions about social media blocking peoples’ accounts because of abusive content.
The Pew notes that views on these topics break sharply along partisan lines. But regardless of what party they identify with or lean toward, teens are more likely than adults with similar partisan leanings to say allowing for safe spaces online is more important than being able to speak freely online.