Advances in technology and the development of the Internet have resulted in the expansion of human interaction, information flow, and discovery. A century ago, similar to science fiction and impossible in practice, today it is the everyday life of all of us, especially when it comes to social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).

Anyone who has access to the Internet is both a publisher and a speaker, and can judge someone without suffering serious consequences. This is precisely why hate speech on the Internet is on the rise in modern times, especially among young people. Like many others, our research, in which we examined the attitudes and experiences of young people, parents and teachers about hate speech on the Internet, conducted in 2014, confirmed the fact that young people believe that an insult on the Internet is not the same as an insult in real life. the world. According to the results, a third of the surveyed students experienced hate speech on the Internet (of this number, half of the students experienced this unpleasant experience more than once), and the same number were actors of hate speech themselves by writing offensive/derogatory/mocking comments on social networks. Less than a fifth of the surveyed parents stated that their children had experienced hate speech on the Internet, and teachers to whom the students complained that they were victims of hate speech on the Internet were also in an approximate percentage. The discrepancy between students' answers and parents' and teachers' answers can be explained by the fact that children do not tell their parents and teachers about everything, and that they understand some forms of hate speech as a joke or as something less important because it is a virtual world. Therefore, they see verbal violence and violent communication on the Internet as something that they do not consider bad and unacceptable, they state that this type of relationship is acceptable on the Internet, while in real life they consider it impolite and unforgivable. Students, parents and teachers recognized physical appearance, sexual orientation, and then also national and religious affiliation, as well as material status, as the most common reason for hate speech.
Intolerance and "hate" have always been characteristics of human society, and recently numerous studies show that there has been an increase in negative attitudes. If there is less tolerance for differences, and if the restrictions on intolerance are not followed, then hatred and intolerance will find their way not only in the things people do but also in the things they say. The Internet has made it possible to express ourselves in new ways, to address a larger number of people at once, with one message or statement. From our safe position, tucked away in a pleasant home atmosphere, we give ourselves the opportunity and the right to send messages from the domain of hate speech much more easily than we would do in the real world.
Convinced that children and young people should be taught the premise that the online world is a public space and that the principles and values ​​of human rights must be respected in it as in the real world, we launched a project through complementary online and offline activities that are the answer to the challenges of hate speech on the Internet by providing the necessary help and support to young people to learn to recognize it and adequately react to it.
We use the opportunity to thank the donors who supported the implementation of this project, as well as the organizations and individuals who gave us support to devote ourselves to the problem in the right way. We owe the greatest gratitude to the peer educators and their mentors for their dedication and successful implementation of the planned activities.
In addition to useful texts about hate speech on the Internet, in this information you can also find the experiences of peer educators and mentors of each school who had the need to share them with everyone who wants to start similar preventive programs in their school communities.

Project coordinators
Vanja Rakočević
Sabra Decević


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