Someone encountering the Internet for the first time might be forgiven for assuming it was created specifically for teenagers. Indeed, the Internet could reasonably be said to have been aging backwards since its birth – the domain first of scientists and the military, then of university students in the 1990s and now children and teenagers.
This lesson is designed to be delivered after students have completed at least one of the following lessons: Thinking About Hate, Scapegoating and Othering and Hate or Debate. In groups, students research an online environment (such as social networking sites) and a particular example of that environment (such as Facebook) to learn the issues, strategies and tools relating to online hate in that environment.
In this lesson, students learn about the difference between legitimate debate on a political issue and arguments that are based on hate.
Most kids see hate and prejudice online, and most of them say it’s important to do something about it. But whether you’ve seen a video that’s full of racist conspiracy theories or have just seen a friend share an offensive meme, it can be hard to know what to do about it.
In its early days, the internet was often spoken of as a free marketplace of ideas, where everyone’s views and thoughts could be shared and compete on an equal footing. Today it’s an essential tool for accessing information and services, but its value as a vehicle of civic engagement and debate has in many ways declined.