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Internet incivility permeates daily life

Internet incivility permeates daily life


Here's some news involving the online world that shouldn't surprise you.

Online firm Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate, along with research company KRC Research, have been conducting annual Civility in America surveys since 2010.

The companies want to know how Americans feel about the level of civility in social and daily life.

Which, of course, includes the Internet, given that social media is a very large part of social and daily life in this nation.

The 2014 poll found 94 percent of those surveyed believe civility is a problem in America, 68 percent think cyberbullying in society is getting worse and 65 percent think incivility in America has risen to crisis levels.

Only 12 percent of those surveyed think civility will get better in the next few years.

Broken down by generations, 23 percent of Millennials, those born 1980 through 1995, are the most optimistic that things will improve, while members of the Silent Generation, born 1925 through 1942, are the least optimistic at 6 percent.

More than half of all respondents blame the rise of incivility on the Internet and social media — again, no real surprise.

However, politicians, at 63 percent, and government officials, at 56 percent, rank higher as drivers of incivility than the digital world.

America's youth and the news media also make the list, but at percentages lower than the Internet.

You can read and download the executive summary of the survey ( as well as read and download a nice infographic that neatly summarizes the most recent findings (

Using the incivility survey as a starting point, American Greetings, one of the world's largest greeting card manufacturers, has launched a campaign to "make the world a more thoughtful and caring place."

The company has created the ThankList website (, where people can write a message or post a video thanking someone in their lives.

Click the "Explore" link to browse through hundreds of expressions of thanks.

Then, post your own.

If you're suffering through an uncivil day, go to this site to balance out the noise and strife.

Speaking of civility and cyberbullying, a recent UK study finds young people think their friends are more at risk from cyberbullying than themselves (

The investigators surveyed boys and girls between 16 and 18 years of age to determine, in part, their perceptions of the risks of cyberbullying.

"Our findings suggest that whilst young people are aware of the potential risks associated with cyberbullying, they believe that they are less likely to experience cyberbullying than their peers," says researcher Lucy Betts. "This unrealistic perception of invulnerability appears to lead many to think it is something that happens to other people."

Issues of civility also extend to marriage and social media.

According to a British survey conducted by Slater and Gordon, a firm specializing in family law, one in seven respondents said they had contemplated seeking a divorce because of their spouse's activities on social media platforms and apps, such as Facebook, Skype, SnapChat, Twitter and What'sApp (

Further, at least 25 percent of those surveyed said they have at least one argument a week about their spouse's social media use, while 17 percent said they argue on a daily basis.

Just under half of those surveyed said they secretly check their spouse's Facebook account and 14 percent said they look on social media specifically for evidence of infidelity on the part of their spouse.

(Keith Darnay is the Tribune's online manager and has worked in the online world for more than two decades. His site is at


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