Publication - 10th September 2021

The Future Online

Young people around the world, particularly girls and gender-diverse folks, are physically threatened, racially abused, sexually harassed and body shamed online and it gets worse when they raise their voices and share their opinions. Online violence and harassment is serious, it causes real harm and it’s silencing young people in a space where they should be free to be online.

How different would the world be if we all took action against online gender-based violence and harassment when we see it?

Young people came together from Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia to research how active bystander intervention can fight the growing levels of gender based violence and harassment that young people experience online.

These youth leaders worked together to design the guiding project questions, conduct focus group discussions with peers and they are now campaigning for change!

Their research focused on this question: What is needed to mobilise and support people to be active online bystanders when they witness online gender-based violence directed towards young people in all our diversity?

They found that a range of factors contribute to online violence and harassment, including cultural norms and gender stereotypes, social media platforms not doing enough to address the issue, social media influencers who can sometimes perpetuate the problem and more broadly, the global pandemic.

Their research also showed that people are powerful agents of change and can be mobilised to be active bystanders but they need the education, tools and support to do so. Education systems and social media companies have a big and important role to play in equipping people to be active bystanders.

Their findings, recommendations and ideas for action demonstrate that change is possible and it lies with all of us as individuals as well as with social media platforms and our government.

Join their campaign for change.

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