An Associated Press-MTV survey has found that many young people in the US believe that using slurs such as the word “fag” in the online realm is not offensive.

Of the young people polled, 51 percent said that they often see slurs such as “slut,” ”fag” and “retard” online or in text messages, but only 44 percent said they’d be very offended by seeing these slurs.

Most feel that the terms are usually used in a non-discriminatory context such as when trying to be funny or as a joke.

Fifty-four percent don’t believe that the terms are offensive when used within their circle of friends and only 44 percent said they’d be very offended by the slurs if they were used online.

When it came to the specific use of the word “fag”, only 23 percent said that they’d be offended by it, although 39 percent of those who are gay or know someone who is gay would be seriously offended by its use.

A majority of those interviewed also see no problem with using the term “that’s so gay” to describe something that is uncool or negative. Two-thirds said that that they have seen this term used.

The results were based on telephonic interviews with 1,355 people aged 14 to 24 across the US as part of MTV’s “A Thin Line” campaign to stop the spread of digital abuse.

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