Wednesday, 25 November 2015


·      NOVEMBER 24, 2015 12:00AM


Children as 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 Abramovich said.
“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 Abramovich said.
“Hate material creates anger and occasionally promotes violent acts against people of other races and religions.”
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 attacks.
“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 Hate click here

Our mailing address is:
B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission
306 Hawthorn Rd
Caulfield South, Vic 3162

03 9272 5677

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