The Responding to Online Hate guide assists law enforcement personnel, community groups and educators in recognizing and countering hateful content on the Internet – especially as it pertains to youth.

Fong [1], Guichard [2] and Hope [3], among others, have pointed out that current protocols for dealing with online hate have proven inadequate at managing hateful content and providing educational opportunities, largely because they have failed in adequately capturing the broad scope and complicated, disputed nature of online hate. Criminal legislation and formal policies have had limited success in addressing the complex issues related to crime in an online context and hate crime in general.

The Internet has become a prime means of communication worldwide and this unprecedented global reach – combined with the difficulty in tracking communications – makes it an ideal tool for extremists to repackage old hatred, raise funds, and recruit members. As the Internet has grown, the quantity and sophistication of extremist websites has increased proportionately.

The Internet has been rightly hailed as a groundbreaking interactive marketplace of ideas where anyone with the right hardware and software can set up a cyber-stall. It has become an essential means for people to access information and services but the downside of this unparalleled information exchange is that, alongside its many valuable resources, the Net also offers a host of offensive materials – including hateful content – that attempt to inflame public opinion against certain groups of people.

It is not always easy to discern when hateful content on the Internet crosses the line from being offensive to illegal. The line between hate speech and free speech is a thin one, and different countries have different levels of tolerance. The line is even thinner in digital environments where hateful comments posted lawfully in one country can be read in other countries where they may be deemed unlawful.

Traditional government responses to online hate have been to police cyberspace as an extension of the state’s territory, ignoring the online/offline divide.

Online Hate

For all that the Internet can offer us, it sometimes offers a platform for promoting hatred and violence. In this section, we cover what online hate means, what Canadian law says about it, and how young people and adults can respond to it while keeping in mind Canada’s position on freedom of expression.

Digital Issues
Internet and mobile communications technologies offer a wealth of opportunities for fun, learning, and exploration. They also present parents and teachers with a host of concerns and worries. In this section, you can find resources on how to tackle these issues in a positive way.
Privacy Playground

In this game, designed for ages 8-10, the CyberPigs play on their favourite website and encounter marketing ploys, spam and a close encounter with a not-too-friendly wolf.

Allies and Aliens: A Mission in Critical Thinking

This interactive module for Grades 7 and 8 is designed to increase students’ ability to recognize bias, prejudice and hate propaganda on the Internet and in other media.

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