Giving voice to young people to fight for hate-free internet
UNICEF and the Foundation Telekom for Macedonia invite young people to be part of a co-created campaign against cyber-violence and online hate speech
Skopje, 19 April 2023: UNICEF together with the Foundation Telekom for Macedonia are launching a new open call inviting children and young people to join communication initiatives led by youth to address barriers that allow cyberbullying and hate speech to persist in social media. Under the title “Together for a hate-free internet” the call is part of the long partnership between UNICEF and Telekom Foundation for Macedonia aimed to engage children and young people in tackling some of the biggest challenges facing their generation.
“Growing up online offers limitless opportunities. When used in the right way the internet has the potential to broaden horizons, unlocking opportunities to learn, to access information, play and express themselves. But with these opportunities come serious risks,” said Patrizia DiGiovanni, UNICEF Representative. “Now more than ever children and young people need skills and ability to be kind and respectful to members of their online communities and speak out against online violence.”
"We are building the digital future, but that is not enough, we set ourselves the ambitious task of working on the ethics of that digital future. Hate speech online deserves our attention and we have an obligation to make a difference. Although this is a challenge for all generations, it affects the youth the most. That's why we give them a voice, knowledge and tools to fight for a hate-free internet and for them to be the bearers of change." - said Nikola Ljushev, President of the Telekom Foundation for Macedonia.
Children and young people are spending more time online than ever before. As many as eight in 10 (88.3%) of young people are on social networks where cyberbullying and hate speech occur the most. A recent national U-Report poll showed that 24% of the youth in the country have at least once felt being under threat online and every third respondent who had been a victim of cyberbullying has most often been insulted or belittled. This data shows how important it is to talk openly and constantly about this topic and to try to protect young people, but also to show them how to deal with the threat.
The main goal of the initiative is to involve and teach young people how to start this change. Through co-creation workshops facilitated by communication, media literacy, child protection, technology professionals and multi-media content creators, children and young people identified through this open call will address problems, learn how to deal with them and create a campaign to raise the awareness of their peers and the general public.
The workshops will be organized in May. All children and young people between the ages of 14 and 19 are encouraged to apply, by filling in this application: https://t.ly/p08z
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.mk.