Digital abuse is any type of bullying or harassing behavior that occurs online, through social networking, text messaging, or other technologies. These acts include anything from sending or posting mean or threatening messages about another person to disclosing private information without permission. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that, similar to traditional forms of bullying, digital bullying is associated with emotional distress and trouble at school.
In response to growing concerns about the harmful effects of digital abuse, both public and private sector organizations initiated campaigns and interventions aimed at educating young people about appropriate online behavior and how to deal with digital abuse when it happens. Seeking to contribute rigorous research on this issue, MTV and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research conducted a national survey of 1,297 teens and young adults between the ages of 14 and 24 to gain a fresh look at digital use and abuse among young people in the United States and to update previous estimates from AP and MTV on the number of teens and young adults involved in or affected by digital abuse.