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Wednesday, 25 November 2015
SKILLS TO HELP FIGHT ONLINE BIGOTS & HATERS
24, 2015 12:00AM
SKILLS TO HELP FIGHT
ONLINE BIGOTS & HATERS
young as 11 are being taught skills to identify and respond to online
racism as a growing number of extremists take advantage of social media to
promote messages of hate.
The B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation
Commission runs Click Against Hate in more than 60 schools across Victoria
for students in Years 5 to 10.
“(The internet is) an ideal vehicle
for those who want to disseminate hatred, bigoted rants, lies, bullying,
conspiracy theories and even calls for violence, and thus provides a mask
to individual users to unburden themselves anonymously,” chairman Dvir
“Now, every extremist has a
platform and a megaphone through websites, Facebook or YouTube. Young adults
are therefore more vulnerable than ever.”
Dr Abramovich said anti-Semitism,
Islamphobia, homophobia, misogyny and other cultural and racial prejudices
were on the rise because there was an epidemic of internet hate which was
easily accessible by students of all ages.
He said the children were often
exposed when there were no adults present and so young people must be
prepared to stand up for each other. He said while schools had good
intentions of combating racism and prejudice, it often wasn’t their top
priority, or they didn’t have the resources to ensure that anti-bias and
diversity education were an integral part of the school curriculum.
“Cyber hate and extremist views
migrate and are translated into conduct in the schoolyard because such
material incites against minorities, and because students tend to verbalise
and act out the racist views they absorb online on real-world victims,” Dr
“Hate material creates anger and
occasionally promotes violent acts against people of other races and
In southeast Melbourne,
Stonnington Primary School Year 6 student Isabella said racism was a major
problem that affected a lot of people but often seemed to be overlooked.
She said that while she didn’t
think it was very common for children her age to be affected by racism she
thought they might come across it when they reached high school and became
more active on social media.
Fellow student Erin said she had
witnessed online racism a few times, especially after the Paris terrorist
“I feel like online bullying can
be more common because you can hide behind a screen and don’t have to face
people or suffer consequences,” she said.
For more information about Click
against Hateclick here