Authors: Christine Lee - School of Social Sciences, Western Sydney University, NSW, Australia



Previous research into various forms of online abuse tend to calculate indicative prevalence rates. Little research has examined what courses of action are adopted to prevent further online abuse. This gap in the academic literature is addressed in this article. Data were derived from responses to an online questionnaire into online abuse. Sample comprised participants aged 25-75 who were not currently transitioning between high school and university study, alongside the 18-24 cohort who have dominated most previous research samples. Results showed that blocking abusers was the common strategy to prevent further online abuse. This is the general advice given by social media platforms when users encounter online abuse and bullying. This was followed by participants choosing not to comment on matters including feminism and racism. Fear for their personal safety fuelled the desire for participants to censor their online commentary or cease altogether. However, these were not universally adopted with some participants making no changes to their online activities following incidents of abuse. Personal responsibility for online safety only addresses micro-level online abuse. This indicates that macro-level online abuse is not being addressed adequately by social media providers, who should become more proactive in preventing online abuse.

Keywords: Online Abuse; Prevention; Mature-aged; Australians, Responsibility; Social media

Vol 4, Issue 2, October 2023