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Solutions to Stop Hate speech

Solutions to Stop Hate speech

If you or your children find hate speech on any online forum that tries to be responsible, you should immediately report it. While the reporting mechanisms are different for each platform & reporting service, most will have online guides to walk users through the process. But, while an important step, reporting alone, will not prevent hate speech anymore than policing will prevent all crimes. You’ll find guides to the most popular services at ConnectSafely.org. Parents can start by taking preventative action, by dealing with situations before they reach the hate speech level. This applies equally to children who may be potential speakers or potential targets of hate speech. Encourage empathy in your children and remind them that, when engaging with others online, there is another person on the other side of the screen. Encourage your children to have an open attitude and honest curiosity about other people because some instances of hate speech are based on ignorance or false information or designed to recruit young people to a hate group or radical ideology. Look for terms that might creep into your child’s vocabulary. Sometimes kids (and adults) use derogatory terms without realizing their impact. They may not mean to be hateful but the words they use can still be hurtful and they may be getting into bad
habits. Phrases like “that’s so gay” can be hurtful and inappropriate, even if they’re not motivated by hate. Don’t overreact to these situations. Lots of kids use derogatory terms without realizing it. They’re not being hateful but they might need to be reminded that their words impact others.

Look for group behavior. Your child may be fine in most situations but slip into using hateful terms when around others, such as teammates or groups of friends. Children can also be taught techniques to engage hateful speech productively, when they encounter it online. Counter speech is any direct response to hateful or harmful speech which seeks to undermine it. Just as influential speakers can make violence seem acceptable and necessary, online speakers can also favorably influence discussions and interactions through counter speech. Tell your children that they do not have to respond to online aggression with more aggressive behavior. Counter speech can be calm and matter of fact expressions of belief, expressing opinions like “I don’t think that’s right” or stating that hateful content “doesn’t belong here.”

Children can also be taught to show support for the targets of hate speech. Oftentimes, when someone is targeted online, there is a silent majority of onlookers who do not agree with the hate speech – but say nothing out of fear of standing alone. Producers of hate speech may back down, if they feel like the social norms of online spaces don’t support that type of behavior.

Many producers of hate speech are behaving aggressively to feel powerful and legitimize their views. Because of this, it can often be effective diffuse hateful speech with humor. Hate speech can also be a ploy for attention from online trolls, so another effective strategy can be to instruct children to ignore speakers who are trolling for a response. Many platforms offer controls that can block speakers, hashtags, or trending topics, which can help remove hate speech from children’s feeds. You can also teach
your kids to cool down before responding to hate speech. Seeing incendiary and hurtful content online is designed to get a rise out of targets and onlookers. This is similar to the way that bullying works.

As we said earlier, hate speech sometimes overlaps with bullying – though there are differences – some of the solutions to hate speech are similar to those of bullying and other anti-social behavior. Many schools are implementing digital citizenship curriculum starting in elementary school and continuing through high school. Students are encouraged to be upstanders online rather than being bystanders when they see bullying or hurtful speech online. Examples of well established programs that schools can consider using include Google’s Be Internet Awesome and Common Sense Education’s K-12 lessons. Connect Safely has parent and educator guides and short “quick guides” that cover subjects such as media literacy and fake news, cyberbullying and LGBTQ cyberbullying that can be used by educators and parents. Teachers should help students by posing realistic scenarios that they are likely to experience online and encouraging them to work together to come up with the words and actions they can use to stand up for people who are targeted by hate speech and bullies and to prevent the spread of false information and hate speech, and encourage the spread of accurate and positive information. This will help our youngest users of the internet feel empowered to help make the online world a better place. Penn Graduate School of education recommends educators “practice or role-play scenarios that you find the most challenging,” and suggests that, after an incident, “resist the urge to condemn the student. Instead ask what was behind their action?” Educators can teach by example, being sure That their own words don’t contribute to the problem. They can also call out incidents of hate speech and make sure that bigoted statements are countered.

Fostering a school climate of tolerance and inclusion can help both prevent and isolate hate speech incidents. That could include teaching about contributions from authors, inventors and other members of diverse groups. Chances are very good that the social norm at your school is kindness and tolerance, not hate and bullying. Whether it’s smoking, excessive drinking or bullying, social norms research has shown that establishing positive norms encourages positive behavior. Having grade appropriate discussions about well publicized incidents of hate speech or violence aimed at groups such as the rally and riots in Charlottesville and the shootings in El Paso, Pittsburgh and Christchurch, New Zealand.

As with bullying, there are times when the people engaging in hate speech and their targets know each other, such as fellow students at the same school, and it’s not uncommon for online behaviors to carry over to in-person encounters and vice versa. There are also cases of group hate speech such as students at sporting events engaging in derogatory chants that reference the ethnicity of people on the
opposing team. These encounters can be extremely hurtful and frightening, not just for the athletes on the field but for everyone who witnesses or hears about it.

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