Lindy Morrison from University of West Scotland in the UK interviewed 1,612 adults via an online survey about relationship break ups and online behaviour by their former partner.

The online actions she asked about ranged from threats to actions against self or others through private or  public means.

Some 526 (33 percent) of respondents reported that they had experienced a break up within the last five years.

Of those, 196 (37 percent) said they had experienced at least one experience of digital abuse from their former partner, with an average of four abusive behaviours reported, said Morrison.

More than half (52 percent) said they found the experience highly or extremely distressing.
The most common experiences reported were - 48 percent had their former partner send or share an online message about them that was extremely nasty, and 34 percent had their ex contact their new partner or family and friends online for the purpose of distressing them, said Morrison.

As many as 28 percent had their ex threatened to post or send an online message about them that was not true and 26 percent had their ex threatened to share online something they did not want shared, she said.
Another 26 percent had their ex use digital technology to track or stalk them.

The study found that more men than women (40 percent vs 36 percent) report experiences of digital abuse after breakups, but there was no statistically significant relationship between gender and the type of behaviours experienced.

"There is very little research into digital abuse among adults after relationship breakups, particularly into the breadth of experiences that this study includes. Our survey provides strong support for the necessity of further investigation into this issue," said Morrison.

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