sad boy looks at the phone

Online hate and hate speech - don't ignore, react!

Online hate is a phenomenon more and more common in our everyday life. We are dealing with a serious social problem that is also increasingly affecting teenagers and younger children. According to a consumer survey of children and parents conducted by UKE in 2019, the concept of online hate is the most well-known phenomenon of cyberbullying (children - 87.2%, parents - 86.6%).

Online hate is a verbal aggression directed against others in the internet. It can be aimed at an individual as well as a group of people. The hater places negative comments addressed to other users. Those comments are only to insult and offend, using sharp and often curse words.

Hater goes beyond constructive criticism. His main purpose is to express negative responses/opinions to certain materials, information, photos of a specific person, group of people or phenomenon. Haters' comments are offensive, contemptuous, dismissive and often full of loathing or jealousy.

Hate speech is a statement intended to offend or arouse aversion towards a person or group of people. It is an expression of hostility towards others because of their identity/otherness. Hate speech is used to spread anti-social prejudices and discrimination on the basis of features such as:
• nationality (chauvinism),
• sexual orientation (homophobia),
• sex (sexism),
• ethnicity (xenophobia),
• race (racism),
• religion (anti-Semitism, Christianophobia, Islamophobia),
• gender identity (transphobia),
• age (ageism).

The purpose of hate speech is to encourage others to act in a specific way towards the subject of the statement. It can cause feelings of exclusion, loneliness and fear in attacked person.

Anyone who use the network, e.g. in social media, can become a victim of online violence. This applies to ever younger users. The report "Teenagers 3.0" (NASK) shows that more than half of the respondents witnessed the name-calling, humiliation and ridicule of their friends in the Internet. Unfortunately, more and more teenagers and children act like haters. When a child become a victim of online hate, especially one with low self-esteem, the consequence may be an increase in their stress levels and fear of expressing own opinion. In extreme cases, they may even be isolated from the rest of society, become depressed and even have suicidal thoughts.

We all should remember that the internet creates a false belief that users are completely anonymous. Whatever we or others do, we leave traces. Because the internet allows exchanges of views without the need for direct contact, it is easier to express a controversial opinion online than to tell someone directly. There is a difference, however, between expressing opinions and insulting.

Our personal attitude towards the online hate is the most important thing. We should not allow such behavior - we should respond and report it. When you become a victim of cyberbullying, report it to the site administrator and/or to the police. Unfortunately, many users who have experienced online hate, especially the youngest ones, are afraid or ashamed to inform about this problem. Lack of strong reaction only confirms the haters in belief of their impunity.

Although there is no specific legal provision that regulates directly the online hate, there are penal consequences for this kind of behavior. For defamation and insults on the internet, you can receive a fine or a sentence of the restriction of liberty or imprisonment up to one year. Hate speech and discrimination is also punishable by a fine, the restriction of liberty or imprisonment for up to 2 years. The Criminal Code prohibits public promotion of a totalitarian system, hate speech against national, ethnic, racial or religious differences, as well as slandering or insulting people.

Let's set a good example for children!
Not worse, just different. I do not hate!