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Polish kids shirk online presence over hate speech

PR dla Zagranicy
Alicja Baczyńska 29.10.2015 11:47
Many children in Poland admit they shy away from posting their photographs and videos on the internet for fear of becoming the target of trigger-happy trolls.
Photo: Flickr.com/Devon Christopher AdamsPhoto: Flickr.com/Devon Christopher Adams

Online hate is the number one threat as perceived by young Internet users, admits Martyna Różycka, of cyber watchdog dyżurnet.pl.

As the expert adds, verbal assault, ridicule and humiliation are not something children are well-equipped to deal with. "They have some ideas, such as responding to hate with hate, or ignoring abusive behaviour, but very often they simply bring their online activity to a halt," Różycka says. However, "it is important that they continue operating online, creating and sharing their output with fellow internet users and are immune to [hate]."

It is up to schools and parents to educate kids about ways to maintaining a healthy discussion, and respecting views we don't necessarily agree with, she stresses.

"Let's set a good example − if we ourselves engage in online hate against political figures or national minorities, then little wonder that our kids are incapable of presenting their course of reasoning," Różycka adds.

According to a study run by Nobody's Children Foundation, some 40 percent of young people aged between 14 and 17 have become the target of abusive comments posted online. The rate reached 45 percent among those aged between 16 and 17.

As the research shows, verbal attack and derision heightens the risk of depression and anxiety disorders. (aba/rk)

Source: PAP

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