Most Slovak youths support extremists

The passivity of the younger generation against hateful actions corresponds to the total passive approach to civic engagement in the online environment, analysts say.

Illustration Stock PhotoIllustration Stock Photo (Source: Sme)

Up to 84 percent of young people in Slovakia have had an experience with hateful behaviour on the internet, according to the study Young People in Cyberspace – Opportunities and Risks for Democracy by the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO), the TASR newswire reported.

Although 68 percent of younger people consider hateful social site statuses, notes, comments and videos a serious social problem, three quarters (76 percent) of them demonstrate passive behaviour towards the haters. The largest proportion of passive youth (33 percent) maintains their passivity as they deem the actions of the haters a manifestation of free will, said the author of the study and IVO analyst Marián Velšic.

“Another 28 percent does nothing because according to them such reactions do not make sense and 15 percent do not neglect the importance of reactions,” said Velšic, as quoted by TASR.

Respondents to the survey indicated that they most frequently encounter the attitudes of hate on social network (69 percent) and in discussions about common internet media articles (45 percent). Velšic pointed out that 10 percent of respondents actively fight against hate speech and intolerance at least by warning the administrators of the sites.

“Only 1 percent declared that they would alert state authorities in the case of such expressions and possible violations of the law,” said Velšic.

Analysts reported similar findings in the so-called internet trolling, the provocation of participants in discussions and the disruption of objective discussions. Despite the fact that up to 94 percent of respondents declared that they encounter the actions, their reactions are again passive, according to Velšic.

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Velšic pointed out that the situation corresponds to the total passive approach of the younger generation to civic engagement in the online environment. Most young people read posts and opinions within discussions, give likes to statuses or read blogs, he said.

“However, only 6 to 9 percent use expressions of engagement via their own blogs, the organisation of petitions or the establishment of their own websites,” said Velšic, as cited by TASR.

IVO conducted data collection for the survey in cooperation with the Focus agency and with the support of the ESET Foundation in September 2016. The survey consisted of 1,083 respondents aged 18 to 39 years, TASR wrote.

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