Report from the White House Task Force Youth Roundtable on Online Harassment and Abuse

Today, on the International Day of the Girl Child, the White House Gender Policy Council, the Domestic Policy Council and the Department of Education hosted a roundtable with young survivors online harassment and abuse, alongside educators, youth and adult advocates, and health experts.

Young people today are using social media and online platforms more than ever. Screen time among teens and tweens has risen sharply over the past decade, particularly over the past two years, to about eight and a half hours a day for non-school activities for teens aged 13 to 18 years old. benefits of digital technology, more time spent online also means more exposure to online harms, which disproportionately affect girls, including sexual exploitation, non-consensual distribution of intimate images, violence in dating, sextortion and cyberstalking. In the United States and around the world, half of girls say they are more likely to be bullied via social media than on the street. Of the girls who have been harassed online, 47% have been threatened with physical or sexual violence.

Roundtable participants shared their experiences with various forms of online harassment and abuse, and highlighted the serious impact on their health and well-being, including mental health issues such as chronic stress and depression, as well as the physical damage caused by romantic partners. They spoke about the false dichotomy between “offline and online” worlds for young people, whose social connections move fluidly between the internet and in person. Several participants highlighted the disproportionate impacts of online abuse on teenage girls, youth of color, and LGBTQI+ youth. One participant spoke of the exponential increase in online child sexual exploitation and the lasting effects of this trauma on adult survivors as their images continue to circulate online. Another participant highlighted the link between the accelerated use of social media during the pandemic and the decline in adolescent mental health, including the alarming increase in teen suicides, especially among girls.

Participants provided recommendations to the White House Task Force to Combat Online Harassment and Abuse, focused on ensuring access to support services, highlighted the need for the tech sector to to improve safety in the design of their products and discussed how parents, teachers, school administrators, and law enforcement can compassionately and effectively support young people who have experienced bullying and bullying. online abuse.

Administration officials reaffirmed the White House’s commitment to addressing online harassment and abuse, including through the Task Force and the Global Partnership for Action Against Online Harassment and Abuse gender-based. The task force will produce recommendations to prevent and address technology-facilitated gender-based violence, and share guidance and resources to support and engage state governments, schools, and other public and private entities in addressing this challenge. omnipresent.

External participants included:

  • Sophie Arroyo
  • Melissa Jean Baptiste
  • Dr Nusheen Ameenuddin, American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media
  • Michelle DeLaune, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
  • Angela Lee, Love is Respect
  • Margaret Ochoa, Colorado School Safety Resource Center
  • Maham Sewani, Plan International Youth Advisory Council
  • Defenders of #myimagemychoice

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