A new report by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education paints a grim picture of how the U.S. is grappling with the spread of online harassment.
The group compiled data from a wide variety of sources including school administrators, government agencies and other sources and concluded that the prevalence of online and offline harassment has increased by a staggering 95 percent in the past year.
The group has received over 100,000 responses from parents and teachers.
In the past 12 months, more than 1.2 million students in public schools across the country have been subject to online harassment, according to the report.
“In recent years, the incidence of online online bullying has exploded, with a significant increase in recent years in the number of cases of bullying targeting students in schools and in our communities,” the report states.
“Online harassment has been particularly pervasive in public education, where it is more prevalent than in any other sectors.”
The report also highlighted the increasing prevalence of cyberbullying, which the Foundation describes as a form of online abuse in which a person attempts to use an online platform to harass someone, including a teacher or other person, with threats, insults or cyberbullies, often in an attempt to intimidate or humiliate.
The Foundation says that the amount of cyberharassment in the U to date has reached an all-time high, reaching an all time high of almost 2.3 million incidents.
“This is a problem that is only getting worse and worse as the number and severity of incidents continues to grow,” the Foundation’s executive director, Jody Matson, said in a statement.
“With the current epidemic of online cyberbulling, it is critical that we take action to prevent this type of abuse from being normalized and normalized abuse continues to be a threat to our safety and our community.”
The Foundation says the trend of online hate speech is not new.
The organization notes that hate speech has been a part of American life since the colonial era.
The foundation also notes that the use of the Internet to disseminate hateful messages has been increasing.
“These online harassment campaigns are being waged by a wide range of individuals, including students, teachers, administrators, parents and others who are not necessarily online, but are part of our daily lives,” the foundation states.
“We cannot let this trend continue, and we must take action now to address it.
We are doing just that by partnering with community leaders, lawmakers, and policymakers to ensure that we are taking a proactive approach to tackling cyberbullaging and hate speech online.”
The group calls on Congress to pass the Cyberbullying Prevention Act, which would require internet service providers to remove content from their websites if they receive a court order.
The legislation would also mandate companies to remove any content from online forums that they determine violate their terms of service, such as the forums of the neo-Nazi website Stormfront.
The bill is being reintroduced in the Senate and will have a hearing before the full Senate later this month.