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Release: The Impact of Social Media on Saskatchewan

Seven in ten social media users in Saskatchewan have witnessed racial/ethnic bigotry on social media.

In a new independent poll conducted by Insightrix Research Inc., Saskatchewan residents were asked how social media has impacted their lives.

Sixty percent (60%) of Saskatchewan social media users indicated it had both a positive and negative impact on their lives. Another 14% felt it didn’t change their lives, 11% indicated it had positively impacted their lives, 6% indicated it had negatively impacted their lives, 4% said they never use social media, 2% were unsure and 3% have quit using social media altogether.

Despite indicating social media has had some positive impact on their lives, more than one third (34%) feel the behaviour of others on social media has negatively impacted their lives.

In fact, 59% of Saskatchewan social media users feel social media has led them to have a more negative view of society. Another 22% indicate it has had no impact on how they view society while only 7% thought it has led to a more positive view of society. Another 12% indicate they are not sure. 

In what way has social media changed the
way you view society as a whole?
(% of SK Social Media Users)

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Men (65%), compared to women (53%), are more likely to indicate social media has led them to have a more negative view of society, as are those aged 18 to 34  (64%) and 35 to 54 (63%).

Older Saskatchewan social media users aged 55 or older were more likely to indicate social media has no impact on how they view society (30%).

Witnessing Online Harassment

These negative perceptions are likely influenced by having witnessed someone being harassed on social media.

Overall, more than half (55%) of Saskatchewan social media users indicate they have seen someone, other than themselves, harassed on social media.

This number is higher among those aged 18 to 34 years old (76%) and 35 to 54 years old (59%).

When asked what types of harassment they have witnessed others experience on social media, more than two thirds (70%) report witnessing racial harassment, 59% report harassment based on political affiliation, 59% report sexist/gender-based harassment, 57% report body shaming, 56% report religious intolerance, 55% report threats or intimidation and more than one half (51%) report witnessing homophobic/sexuality-based harassment on social media.*

What forms of harassment have you witnessed 
while you have been on social media?

(% of SK Social Media Users)

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Those Saskatchewan social media users aged 18-34 years old are more likely to report having witnessed revenge porn (15%), harassment of disabled persons (40%), impersonation/catfishing (36%) and sexist/gender-based harassment (68%).

Those with children in the household are more likely to indicate they have witnessed threats and intimidation (61%) on social media.

Victims of Harassment

Two in ten (21%) Saskatchewan social media users report having once been a victim of harassment on social media.

Those aged 18 to 34 years old (36%) and those of indigenous ancestry
(32%) are more likely to indicate they have been a victim of harassment on social media. 

When asked what types of harassment they have experienced, 47% of Saskatchewan social media users indicate threats and intimidation, 34% indicate body shaming, 28% indicate sexist/gender-based harassment and 24% indicate harassment based on political affiliation.*

*Respondents were given the option to make multiple selections; therefore, percentages total more than 100%.

Potential for Discontinuation

The negative impact of social media appears to be taking a toll on Saskatchewan social media users, with one third (34%) indicating harassment on social media has made them at one time want to discontinue the use of one or more forms of social media altogether. Another 9% of Saskatchewan users indicate they have already discontinued at least one form, and 57% indicate they do not plan discontinue.

Research Details

A total of 804 randomly selected SaskWatch Research® panel members participated in the online research study between February 5 to February 8, 2018. Quotas were set by age, gender and region to match the general population of the province; therefore, the data did not need to be weighted. 

Since the research is conducted online, it is considered to be a non-probability proportion sample; therefore, margins of error are not applicable. However, the margin of error can be estimated to be ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20 for questions answered by all respondents (n=804). Detailed information on this release is available upon request. 

About SaskWatch Research®

Insightrix began developing its SaskWatch Research online market research panel in October 2007, using high quality techniques including telephone recruitment and referrals from existing panel members. Presently, there are over 18,000 active panel members representing all regions of the province and distributions of the general population. Panel membership closely matches the 2016 Census, based on age, gender, household composition, household income and education. For more information, please visit http://saskwatch.ca.