The SEL activities helped the learners identify the range of emotions that may be present in different communities (both online and offline), including communities they belong to. They had opportunity to explain why those emotions might be present, and how those emotions may influence the actions/responses of the group when encountering hate speech.
The Media analysis unit gave learners the opportunity to analyse media sources that have drawn attention to protected characteristics (both positively and negatively). They explored the characteristics of these campaigns that made them effective in gaining attention/sparking discussion/effecting change, and considered how they can develop these characteristics in their own campaigns or actions around online hate speech.
The Media production unit focused on how to engage with and build a supportive community that can further the reach and objectives of a campaign (both online and offline).
This Citizenship unit focuses on canvassing as a means to better understand the needs and issues in a community. Learners will consider effective methods to gather information and develop a plan for surveying/canvassing to inform their campaign planning.
These questions are provided as examples to initiate and guide discussions around the topic in this focus area.
- What are the hate speech issues in the communities you belong to (online and offline)?
- Who is the audience you could target and positively influence?
- How could you positively influence them?
- Where would you spread your messages (online and offline)?
- What resources do you need to make your campaign work? (e.g. technology, people and skills, time, help/support).
- What would you like to achieve by the end of your campaign? (This forms your “objective”.)
The SELMA project short definition of hate speech is:
“Any online content targeting someone based on protected characteristics with the intent or likely effect of inciting, spreading or promoting hatred or other forms of discrimination.”
What’s the issue?
As a whole group, ask learners to record any hate speech issues they are aware of in the communities they belong to. Encourage them to consider both online communities (e.g. specific online games, social networks, online services/platforms, etc.) and offline communities (e.g. school, local community, youth groups, etc.).
Learners can either record these individually as a list and then share in a group discussion, or you may wish to collect ideas by asking them to write each one on a sticky note and add to a wall display/large sheet of paper.
As a group, discuss the issues shared - can learners give some specific examples of when they saw hate speech? What happened, who was involved, what was the outcome? (e.g. an online female gamer was targeted with hateful comments by male gamers; the female gamer left the game and never returned.)
Are there any patterns/themes across the issues that learners have recorded?
Ask learners to consider which of these issues they would like to plan a campaign around. They will need to work in groups to plan the campaign and you will need to use your professional judgement in determining the best way to group the learners. To ensure all learners are engaged with the task, it may be beneficial to group together learners who care about the same issues. However, depending on the different skills held by individuals in the the class, it may be necessary to group learners differently to ensure a variety of skills that would enable each group to successfully plan their campaign. (The Theme 6 SEL activity gives learners opportunity to identify their own skills and attributes that enable them to influence others.)
Call to action
Where possible, split the group up into smaller groups of 3-5 and set the task to complete a high-level campaign plan to include:
- Target audience
- Key features
- Key individuals/group/team - must include an adult
Provide learners with supported time to construct their campaign and copies of the campaign planning handout for all learners.
But strongly warn the learners not to go live with campaign unless you are happy that the learners concerned have the necessary resilience and that their idea is sufficiently well developed. The SELMA team suggest that this should not happen at all with learners under 13 years old.
Know your audience, know your goals
In their groups, ask learners to now turn their attention to who their target audience would be in a campaign - who will they target messages towards, where is their audience, and what interests/motivates them? Learners may wish to use the Counter-narrative planning sheets from How can I influence my people - Media production to help them identify audience characteristics - writing a short bio may prove useful too.
Once their audience has been identified, learners should consider their objectives for the campaign. It is important for learners to set realistic objectives and to recognise that any campaign can never completely solve a problem!
In terms of objectives, learners should define some goals for the campaign (these can be adjusted or changed later).
These could be quantitative goals (e.g. reach 50 online gamers with the campaign messages) or qualitative goals (e.g. to collect examples of how the campaign messages changed someone’s behaviour - perhaps it prompted someone to report an online user when they previously would have ignored them, or empowered someone to share the counter-narrative messages with other users in the same community). Qualitative examples are harder to collect, record and measure but provide greater insight into the effectiveness of the campaign in influencing behaviour.
Ideally learners should seek to set 2-3 quantitative goals for their campaign, and one qualitative goal. They will need to also consider how they can measure these goals in order to evaluate the effectiveness of their campaign. This could be through analytics on social media (e.g. how many views, likes, shares, etc.), interviews, post-campaign surveys and evidence collecting (e.g. screenshotting examples of counter-narrative messages being used).
Once defined, the audience information and goals can be used to inform the high-level campaign plan in the “call to action”.
Develop a clear and comprehensive campaign plan, covering issue, audience and goals.