Children aren't the only ones bullying each other online. It turns out that adults are engaging in cyberbullying, too — and anti-virus companies are looking into it.
A new survey conducted by McAfee Security reveals that adults frequently use social media to harass and intimidate work colleagues. The findings also show that former partners often use social media to embarrass each other.
"Technology definitely fuels the best of a relationship and the worst of a breakup," Robert Siciliano, a McAfee security analyst, told USA Today. "Airing dirty laundry often leads to exposing deep secrets and intimate photos never meant for public consumption."
The McAfee survey of 1,000 adults shows that one in 10 Americans was threatened online by a former romantic partner. Of those threatened, 60 percent have had sensitive and personal materials, like photos and emails, released on online. Reasons for exposing the materials include infidelity, lying or just as a result of a break-up.
Access to romantic partners' social media profiles may exacerbate the problem, too. The McAfee survey reveals that 56 percent of the respondents monitored their partner's social media profiles and, perhaps more troubling in the event of a break-up, their bank accounts. Of the respondents, 49 percent admitted to reading their partners' emails.
Adults are cyberbullying in the workplace as well. Another survey of 4,000 adults conducted by the antivirus company AVG found that nine percent of those surveyed described an incident in which a manager used information from social media to an employee's detriment.
"Until everyone is clear about exactly what is and isn't acceptable online behavior, trying to enforce policies will just fail, leaving the door open to cyberbullying and invasion of privacy," Tony Anscombe, senior security analyst at AVG, told USA Today. "If organizations take the time to first educate before establishing and enforcing policies, privacy can be protected in the workplace without having to sacrifice any of the social activity we all enjoy."