Tracking Hate Speech in Greece

One out of four children in Greece have encountered hate speech on the internet according to a survey conducted by the Safe Internet Center, upon request from the Greek Ministry of Education.

During November – December 2021 a sample of 5.000 teenagers, ages 12-18, was investigated. The analysis of collected data shows notable facts such as that young people do not hesitate to block annoying contacts in social media, however, they do not easily proceed to report inappropriate behaviours. The majority of those who report are boys, but the difference compared to girls is not big; 57% of report is boys’ and 46% is girls’. A 34% of teenagers answered that they face the increasing phenomenon of online hate speech and have noticed others being target of hate or bullied.  A 13% tried to support the victim individually, not in public.

Another point which should be emphasized, as the research points out, is that when something which makes them feel uncomfortable or scared happens on the internet, 62% of teenagers will ask for help from their parents, 21% from a friend, 13% will face without asking for help and only 4% will turn to a teacher.

Despite how many people and institutions recently observe and investigate the increase of abusive speech on the internet, social media is still perceived as a more relaxed place. This brings users, even people with official authority like politicians, to express themselves with words they would not dare to use in physical world, as Vasilis Bibas, a social media manager in Onassis Foundation Greece, during an online discussion. We recommend everyone to watch the event (English subtitles are available), which was held on March 14, 2022. It gives us the opportunity to listen and reflect on a range of issues like the connection of hate speech with raising power against vulnerable groups or individuals, the crucial role of social media and what is really needed to be taken into consideration in a campaign to stop the spread of hate via the internet.

By Zeta Tsigka, HOU


Internet: A research on students’ habits. Newspaper «ΤΟ ΒΗΜΑ» (04.02.2022)

#Psofos: Hate speech on social media. A discussion at Onassis Foundation Initiatives

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