MODULE 5: ONLINE LIFE, HATE SPEECH AND CYBERBULLYING
This module illustrates five non-formal activities to be done with students during the practical section of PRACTICE Radicalisation Prevention Programme, to explore the issues of cyberbullying, hate speech and the phenomenon of echo-chambers.
- Understand cyberbullying, its effects and consequences
- Develop the skills and motivation for participants to recognise online hate speech
- Understand where lays the balance between fighting hate speech and safeguarding freedom of speech
- Use technology effectively and stay safe online and when using technological devices to develop and share contents
- Identify fake news through the analysis of the details
- Understand and applying principles of netiquette
- Comprehend when a cyberbullying/hate speech attack is ongoing and respond effectively, being aware of the risks and benefits of responding in different ways (e.g. assertive response, aggressive response, passive response, emotive response and so on)
THEORETICAL AND CONTEXTUAL BACKGROUND
Cyberbullying refers to bullying and harassment of others by means of new electronic technologies. It can happen through smartphones, computers, tablets and other electronic devices and communication tools like websites, text messages, instant messages, e-mail, social networking sites, applications or chat. Cyberbullying is the most common online risk for teens, can occur to any young person online, and can cause psychosocial outcomes such as depression, anxiety, severe isolation, and even suicide. Cyberbullying of young people can adversely affect the climate of the peer group and school. To effectively deal with cyberbullying attacks, alongside technical skills related to the correct use of technological devices and internet-based tools; students need to improve their social skills, level of empathy, moral reasoning, conflict resolution skills and anger management. At the same time, teachers should be able to intervene effectively in cyberbullying situations, understanding the group dynamics and developing their own digital competences. School environments are (apart from online environments) the most utilized platforms for cyberbullying prevention and intervention. Key elements of a school-wide approach are building a supportive school culture, development of skills and knowledge about cyberbullying among school staff, students and parents as well as consistent implementation of policy and practice to reduce cyberbullying behaviours.
Hate speech covers all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial haters, xenophobia, antisemitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance, including: intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against minorities, migrants and people of immigrant origin. To effectively address this issue, students should raise their knowledge about social exclusion and discrimination and increase their media literacy skills, as well as teamwork, leadership, communication and conflict management thus contributing to the creation of social inclusive groups and societies. To effectively fight hate speech, students should be encouraged in developing their own multicultural competencies, related to race and culture-specific attributes; media and information literature’s competencies as well as technical skills in order to identify and promptly react to hate speech episodes. On the other hand, schools must provide access to education on a non-discriminatory basis, prevent harassment that interferes with their educational mission and socialize students to live and work in a diverse community – contributing to the delicate balance between right of free speech and the prevention of hate speech among students.
Echochamber is a social phenomenon according to which people use social media to have access to certain types of news and information, selecting the type of content they want to access on the basis of their preferences and orientations. In a “social media echo chamber” people involved in online debates can find their same opinion and way of thinking expressed, supported and repeated more and more, making their own convictions stronger. These closed communities are not always political and do not only happen online. They are the communities formed inside a high school classroom as much as communities formed in an online chatroom. Communities are important in creating a sense of identity and belonging, but they can also prevent us from questioning their knowledge. As our global population becomes more connected, it is of utmost importance to teach young citizens how to navigate ideas and opinions that differ from their own. To fight the normalization of “single thought”, students should improve their abilities to examine multiple viewpoints and take thoughtful, nuanced positions also thanks to cultural empathy and cross-ideological communication’ skills acquisition.
Cyberbullying COSTS IS 0801; Guidelines for preventing cyber-bullying in the school environment: a review and recommendations
Cepin, Media Needs Talent, available here: http://socialna-akademija.si/joiningforces/3-1-1-bullying-and-cyberbullying/ [last access 26/06/2019]
Council of Europe Recommendation No. R (97) 20 on Hate Speech
E. Bertin, NCAC Analysis: hate speech in schools, available here https://ncac.org/resource/ncac-analysis-hate-speech-in-schools [last access 26/06/2019]
Piucci, What is an echo-chamber and how does it affect people in social media? Available here https://www.idareact.org/what-is-an-echo-chamber-and-how-does-it-affect-people-in-social-media/ [last access 26/06/2019]
Drake, Breaking Through the Echo Chamber: Teaching Students to Use Technology for College Research and Global Citizenry, 2018, available here https://digitalcommons.csumb.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1412&context=caps_thes_all[last access 26/06/2019]
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Coordinator – Centro per lo Sviluppo Creativo Danilo Dolci – Italy