Why care about

online hate speech?

Here are our top 7 reasons why you should care about hate speech

Hate speech affects everyone, undermines human dignity and can have serious effects on people’s mental health. It can also lead to violence, extremism and divides societies.

Why do you think young people should care about online hate speech?

1. Hate speech affects everyone’s online experience.

While hate speech affects those who are the victims most profoundly, even if you have never been a direct target of hate speech it also affects you, as an Internet user who may also be disturbed and angered and feel helpless about what to do.

2. Hate speech especially affects young people.

In a study of youth across 4 countries, 42% of young people reported having been exposed to hate speech online with Facebook and YouTube being the top two sites where hate material was found.

3. Hate speech undermines human dignity.

Hate speech makes people feel unsafe, powerless, isolated, excluded and threatened. What’s more, it’s dehumanizing, degrading and undermines human dignity. Everyone has an equal right to be treated with dignity and respect.

4. Hate speech can have significant consequences on people’s mental health.

The impact of online hate speech, discrimination and cyberbullying especially affects LGBTI youth’s mental health, who have the highest rates of suicide of any population in Australia.

5. Online hate speech can lead to real-life violent crimes.

Online hate speech often incites or promotes the use of violence against a certain group of people. But they are only talking about violence, right? Wrong. Studies have shown that when there is an uptick in hate speech against a certain group of people, it is usually accompanied by an increase in hate crimes and identity-based violence.

6. Hate speech is a tool to spread violent extremism.

Online hate speech is used by organised extremist groups to recruit young people to their cause and promote an “us-vs-them” worldview. They use hate speech when talking about races, religions, or nationalities that are seen as “the other”, or they make false claims against these groups, claiming they are terrorists, infidels, violent, etc.

7. Hate speech divides societies and reinforces discrimination and inequality.

If hate speech remains unchallenged, over time it reinforces discrimination against already vulnerable groups and encourages their continued marginalisation and isolation. It can also lead to increased social tensions, disputes and, in some cases, violent conflict.

Do you think we should apply the same social standards on the Internet that we come to expect in public? Why should the online world be any different?

Hate Speech 101 – #IStandWithMariam against Islamophobia

Mariam Veiszadeh is an Australian lawyer who has been repeatedly attacked online by racist and Islamophobic individuals. This has included hundreds of tweets, emails, and posts directing racist and misogynistic abuse at her because of her Muslim identity. She has even received death threats and other clear threats of violence to her and her family.

Some of the worst attacks came after she publicly objected to a Woolworth’s t-shirt with a xenophobic message. Although she was one of many people who objected to the singlet’s message, she was singled out by hate groups because she was Muslim.

The online abuse continued for months and took a toll on Mariam.

To counter the hate speech, friends, followers and supporters of Mariam adopted the hashtag #IstandwithMariam, which was used 3,000 times in just 2 days.

”#IStandWithMariam against racism, bigotry, discrimination & Islamophobia. So does Australia,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Death threats in the virtual world meant I had to worry about my safety in the real one. It has affected my physical and mental health,” — Mariam Veiszadeh

What do you think can be done to prevent Islamophobic and racist abuse online, like the abuse Mariam experienced? Check out What Can You Do to learn more.

Did you know? The most common and widespread forms of online hate speech are based on race, nationality and sexuality, but hate based on religion is also on the rise.

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