Digital Communications

US teens and adults hold different views on online speech, study finds

Teens and adults in the United States differ on a key issue tied to online speech and its consequences. Image: Pexels/ George Milton

Colleen Mcclain

Research associate, Pew Research Center.

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A chart showing US teens and adults choosing whether being safe is more important than than freedom with online speech.
A chart showing US teens and adults choosing whether being safe is more important than than freedom with online speech. Image: Pew Research Center.
A chart showing how US adults and teens view people taking offensive content in online speech too seriously.
Similar to teens, about six-in-ten adults ages 18 to 29 (62%) say offensive content in online speech is taken too seriously. Image: Pew Research Center.

adults teens views of online discourse split along political lines online speech free speech
Republican teens are 23 points more likely than Democratic teens to say being able to speak freely online is more important. Image: Pew Research Center.
The share of conservative Republican adults who say free online speech is more important in this context has risen from 57% in 2020 to 68% today.
The share of conservative Republican adults who say free online speech is more important in this context has risen from 57% in 2020 to 68% today. Image: Pew Research Center.

black hispanic white teens prioritize safety free online speech
Teen girls are also more likely than teen boys to prioritize feeling welcome and safe and to say offensive content is too often excused in online speech. Image: Pew Research Center.
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Related topics:

Digital CommunicationsUnited StatesSystemic Racism

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