New project to investigate social media aggression

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A recent survey found that 40 percent of American adults and 9 percent of children in grades 6-12 have experienced online harassment on social media in the last year.

In light of this trend, the National Science Foundation recently awarded Penn State’s Diane Felmlee, professor of sociology, the Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grant for an interdisciplinary project between the sociology, demography and geography departments that will explore aggression in social media.

To prevent further rising of aggressive posts and messages sent out across social media, different platforms have updated their policies to increase reporting and removal of such content. “We will be monitoring how the users of these sites respond to the policy changes and we will also track where aggressive content originates to see if there are geographic hot spots or cold spots for this activity,” Felmlee said.

This combined effort also includes Daniel DellaPosta, assistant professor of sociology; Stephen Matthews, professor of sociology, anthropology and demography and director of the graduate program in demography; Alan MacEachren, professor of geography and director of the GeoVISTA Center; Justine Blanford, associate teaching professor of geography; and Scott Pezanowski, assistant research professor of geography and GeoVISTA Center’s geospatial technology lead.

The project begins immediately and will continue through January 2019. It is made possible by seed funding from the Social Science Research Institute.

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Last Updated February 09, 2018