Peter Kohn, Clicking to Fight Against Online Hate, The Australian Jewish News, 7 May 2010, p 3
Empowering students to respond effectively when they encounter online anti-Semitism is the aim of a new program to be launched in Victorian Jewish schools next term.
The B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) has devised Click Against Hate, a course designed to be integrated into the information technology and Jewish studies curricula.
ADC executive director Deborah Stone said the program will give young people pointers on how to respond to anti-Semetic jibes, vehement anti-Israel prejudice, and racist material they may encounter on Facebook and other social media.
Stone wrote a research paper on internet hate a few years ago. “It was clear to me that whatever success we may get in terms of regulation, there will always be a vast amount of material out there that individuals come across and need to respond to,” she said.
She added that due to the internet’s immediacy, the more conventional media response mechanisms, built around the longer cycles of established print media and TV, were ineffective.
“Because of the way online debate works and the speed at which it works, it’s really necessary for the ordinary punter out of there to click and respond.”
Click For Hate will be based on a curriculum, generally aimed at year 10 students, which has been prepared by Dr Andre Oboler, the Zionist Federation of Australia’s director of community internet engagement. The ADC has lined up a team of facilitators ready to lead the courses.
The program, comprising five sessions, will teach online safety, recognition of anti-Semitism, how to spot media misreporting and reliable and unreliable material, as well as an introduction to the issues of free speech and privacy.
Mount Scopus Memorial College, The King David School and Bialik College have already indicated they will run the course, and Sholem Aleichem College will present a modified version for primary-school students. The program may be extended nationally.