All people regardless of their origin, country which they come from or in which they live, their religion, nationality or race are equal and have equal rights and thus is any disregard and disrespect of the fact as well as any abuse relying on this basis hate speech! The consequences of hate speech on the Internet and through social media can be extremely serious. To underline this fact Croatia Post (Hrvatska pošta) has released a special stamp promoting tolerance and understanding among people of different nations.
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Hate speech is any expression on Internet or “live” which encourages and promotes attitudes against a person or a group of people on the basis of their race, religion, nationality or because they are foreigners or immigrants …. In Internet communication children often experience violence which can involve spreading of uncomfortable information about them, their families and/or friends, spreading of confidential information, photographs or videos made without their approval and the intention to exclude them from the community.
How spread out these kinds of behaviour are, show us the results of the research done by Brave Telephone and the Polyclinic for Protection of Children of the City of Zagreb in 2013. According to these data, one of five teenagers was exposed to offensive messages or comments on Facebook and every sixth of them also to threats. Further, spreading of lies was experienced by 11% of children, blocking or kicking out of a group also by 11% and encouraging others to speak badly about them was experienced by 7%.
Among such behaviours a huge number falls into the category of hate speech directed against their equals of age. The above behaviours produce numerous consequences. Children who are the victims of violence and hate speech feel miserable, offended, sad and frightened, disrespected, have often low level of self-confidence and self-esteem and refuse to go to school because they are afraid and ashamed. Some children can feel stomach aches, headaches or other psychosomatic disturbances. They also often have difficulties with concentration and keeping attention.
Some children and youth practice even self-injury and need professional help. It is therefore very important to educate children how to safely use internet and social networks but also how to respect the rights of others and ask themselves before making public any content whether it could hurt someone. In case of violence and if the child experiences hate speech it is important that the child entrusts it to his/her parents and that the child alone or together with them seeks professional help.