Social media and messenger apps such as Instagram, TikTok and WhatsApp are particularly popular among young people. Here they regularly post articles and deal with topics that interest and move them. Of course, not everyone always agrees on every topic. Just as in analog life, disputes, conflicts and discussions among young people occasionally arise on the Internet. Most of the time it is harmless and there is no need for you as parents to worry.
However, the Internet can also help to lower inhibition thresholds for hostility and discrimination. Many people apparently find it easier to write something derogatory than to say it in person. Those affected then usually feel very helpless. After all, once something is posted on the Internet, it usually spreads rapidly and uncontrollably. Hate speech on the Internet can have many faces: While cyberbullying usually focuses on one person in particular, hate speech usually attacks entire sections of society and discriminates against them on the basis of their gender, religion, sexuality or origin, for example. Hate comments and insults against individuals or entire groups are not only disrespectful and very stressful for those affected, but can even constitute a criminal offense (- as is clearly explained on the site no-hate-speech.de). However, many young people are not aware of this.
It is therefore all the more important that you discuss discrimination on the Internet and its consequences together with your child. Young people are often uncomfortable when they themselves are affected and insulted and hostile on the Internet. If it is common practice in your home to talk openly about everything, your child will turn to you with confidence if the worst comes to the worst. Talk to your child about respectful interaction on the Internet. The same rules for dealing with others should apply online as offline: Fairness, openness and appreciation.
There are numerous offers of information and help on the subject of agitation on the Net, including
The #NichtEgal initiative is aimed directly at young people and supports them in actively opposing hatred on the net and standing up for an open and profitable culture of discussion on the net.