Young LGBTQI+ people twice as likely to experience hate online

More than two-thirds of young people have experienced bullying and harassment online or viewed distressing content.

According to new research, young LGBTQI+ people are nearly twice as likely to experience hate online.

The annual Digital Youth Index study, carried out by internet firm Nominet found that 69% of young people aged between eight and 25 said they had seen distressing content online, with Reddit, Twitter, TikTok and Tumblr named as the most common places to see it.

The research found that minority groups were the most vulnerable to negative content online – finding that the LGBTQI+ community was nearly twice as likely (52%) to experience hate speech online compared to those who identify as heterosexual (26%).

The feeling that being online had had a negative impact on them was also higher among LGBTQI+ people, as well as among those with a mental health condition.

The study showed that 26% of all those surveyed had experienced violence online, 23% had seen abuse or trolling and a further 23% had encountered sexual content.

Three in ten young people also said that their sleep had been negatively impacted by the internet and digital devices.

In contrast, 53% said they felt that being online had a positive impact on their relationships with friends – although more than one in four said they would like to spend less time on their devices.

Nominet’s study also examined digital skills and the access young people had to technology, finding that more than half of those surveyed believe they have to teach themselves essential digital skills – 20% said they felt they had received good foundational training from school around the digital world.

Notably, 26% of young people said they do not have access to a laptop.

‘It’s never been more important for young people to feel connected, included and secure when they’re online,’ Paul Fletcher, Nominet chief executive, said of the research.

‘Completing this research over a number of years allows us to compare young people’s digital skills, their use of online services and their mental health and overall well-being over time,’

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