Poll finds one-third of young adults have experienced online harassment in the past year

Recent polling data commissioned by CIRA suggests that while Canadians are learning to live with COVID-19, their time spent in front of a screen is still increasing. Over half of Canadians (54 per cent) state that they spend over five hours a day online (up from 36 per cent in 2016). At the same time, nearly a quarter (24 per cent) say they came across online harassment. People ages 18 to 34 are most likely to encounter harassment, with over a third (37 per cent) saying they witnessed or experienced it in 2022. Similarly, women were more likely than men to feel concerned about being harassed, with 36 per cent saying so compared to 26 per cent of men in 2022.

As Canadians adjust to a new normal, many continue to enjoy the benefits of working from home, with four in 10 (39 per cent) indicating they would be unwilling to work for an employer that doesn’t allow remote work. Among those working remotely, the majority (59 per cent) say they usually wear active or athletic clothing; nearly one-third (30 per cent) report wearing athletic clothing every day with a similar number (29 per cent) saying they wear sweats, hoodies and other comfy clothes almost daily.

While Canadians use their screens most often for email and social media, TV bingeing also makes the list of the top five online activities. Netflix and Amazon Prime rank as the top streaming platforms with six in 10 (61 per cent) Canadians subscribing to Netflix and over one-third (40 per cent) signed up for Amazon Prime.

“It’s clear that Canadians are glued to their screens and don’t plan for that to change post-pandemic,” said Tanya O’Callaghan, Vice President, Community Investment, Policy and Advocacy, CIRA. “Everyone expected Canadians to spend more time online as time went on, but the pandemic has supercharged it. With COVID still relevant but a sense of normalcy on the horizon, we hope that our report and survey findings will provide useful insight to anyone who needs it as we continue to navigate this unique period of transition and change.”

The findings and more are outlined in CIRA’s Canada’s Internet Factbook and draw from The Strategic Counsel’s poll. The results will be released in a four-part blog series.

Key Findings:

•  More than half of Canadians (54 per cent) say they spend over five hours online per day, up from 36 per cent in 2016. Only a quarter (25 per cent) of Canadians say they will unplug more once the pandemic is over.

•  Almost one quarter (24 per cent) of internet users have experienced or witnessed harassment online. These experiences are significantly higher among young people, with over a third (37 per cent) of 18 to 34-year old’s reporting online encounters with harassment in 2022.

•  Three in 10 Canadians (31 per cent) say they have been reluctant to use social media or participate in an online discussion because of concerns about online harassment. Women were more likely than men to feel concerned about being harassed, with 36 per cent saying so compared to 26 per cent of men.

•  More than half of Canadians (52 per cent) say they usually get their news by visiting a specific outlet’s website. The second and third most common methods of news consumption are Google searches (47 per cent) and Facebook (34 per cent).

•  Netflix remains by far the most dominant subscriber-based online content provider with six in 10 Canadians signed up (61 per cent). Amazon Prime continues to gain in popularity with four in ten (40 per cent) Canadians subscribing (up from one in four Canadians in 2020).

•  Many remote workers (59 per cent) opt for active or athletic clothing during work hours with three in 10 Canadians admitting they do so every day.

— Canada’s Internet Factbook

— Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA)

— AB

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