Cyberbullying has been an issue for a long time, but it has become increasingly relevant now as kids spend more and more time online – both socially and in remote classrooms.
Cyberbullying has been an issue for a long time, but it has become increasingly relevant now as kids spend more and more time online – both socially and, as we’ve seen this year, in remote classrooms.
When schools moved to remote education during spring 2020, bullying moved to online channels. Working together with Finnish teenagers from various lower secondary schools we found out that 81% of the youth who participated in this project considered cyberbullying a significant problem – and 65% had been bullied themselves. In Sweden, 43% of kids aged 12–17 have been subjected to cyberbullying and 68% know someone who has been exposed to it*. The situation can be estimated to be alike in Norway, and similar trends can be seen all over the world.
Together with our partners, we created The Polite Type – the first ever font that has been taught to recognize and rewrite online hate speech. As a Nordic digital services and software company, we at TietoEVRY wanted to advance the safety and wellbeing of the young – and the responsible use of technology. Together with our long-term partners Children and Youth Foundation and the creative company TBWA\Helsinki we created something tangible to raise awareness on cyberbullying – hoping to create a long-lasting impact through public discussion.
The Polite Type recognizes hurtful words and terms as you write and replaces them with more appropriate and inclusive ones. The word library has been developed together with schoolchildren aged 12–17, and in close collaboration with a diverse team of experts, with wide-ranging backgrounds in linguistics, anti-racism work, gender research and Diversity & Inclusion consulting.
The aim of The Polite Type is not to censor anyone. We want to encourage its users to be more considerate to others. With the font, you can express your opinions, disagree and even argue – it just nudges you to think about the impact of the words you choose.
Now we need your help. This open-source font can be tested on the website and downloaded for offline use. Anyone can access the font. Please join us, test and try the font, and share your thoughts and feelings. Together we can find ways to use technology to encourage people to be kinder to each other – and to create a more inclusive every day.
(*) According to the Youth Online study (Cybercom 2018). The study was conducted by market research firm Userneeds.