Hate speech is a growing problem in society. It is targeted at people of different ages and backgrounds but very often at young people. The use of insulting words and extreme opinions has become more common in social media. Working together with young people, TietoEVRY and the Children and Youth Foundation are now trying to find a solution to this social challenge.
Due to the exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, young people now spend more time on digital platforms and social media. The uncertainty as they adapt to life in self-isolation has made many anxious and worried. Now, more than ever, social media should be a platform where young people can find healthy discourse, new friends, information, enjoyment, and encouragement – not hate. This is why TietoEVRY and the Children and Youth Foundation decided to extend their long-term co-operation with the aim of finding a solution to hate speech.
During the co-operation project, launched this spring, virtual workshops are being arranged for upper secondary schools in the Helsinki metropolitan area. In these workshops, the pupils can discuss the connection between words and hate speech. What kind of words can foster hate speech? How can you change the meaning and tone of a message with your choice of words? What should you pay attention to when choosing words? The virtual workshops are led by Hanna Yli-Tepsa, also known as rap artist Rauhatäti.
“We have co-operated for many years in order to promote the interests of young people, and it is important for us to support them in these challenging times. TietoEVRY has consistently worked for digital equality in society, and in times like this, the need for such work is accentuated. We are glad to be able to make the digital environment a safer place in co-operation with young people,” says Kia Haring, Head of Communications and Sustainability at TietoEVRY.
Ten virtual “dreams” visits to schools in different parts of Finland will be arranged during spring. The visitors, or ”dreamsters”, will be actress Krista Kosonen and breakdance artist Johannes “Hatsolo” Hattunen. The dreamsters will present their own growth stories and help young people tell about their own experiences of hate speech and bullying. With their stories, the dreamsters also wish to encourage young people to dream and consider what their own strengths are.
“We are happy that the co-operation with TietoEVRY continues despite the exceptional situation. Young people need means of doing things together, a safe digital space and dreams – especially in difficult times like this. This can also be seen in the latest Youth Barometer, which shows a worrying trend: young people's trust in other people has deteriorated,” says Hanna Koskenkangas, who works as expert at the Children and Youth Foundation.
The co-operation between the Children and Youth Foundation and TietoEVRY started already in 2018 and aims at giving young people tools for a meaningful life. During the co-operation, young people have, for instance, been offered future workshops and youth festivals, and themes that are important for young people have also been introduced to social debates at the annual public debate forum SuomiAreena.
Hanna Koskenkangas, Corporate Responsibility Specialist, The Children and Youth Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mari Tuokko, Communications Lead Finland, TietoEVRY, email@example.com
The Children and Youth Foundation builds together with young people a future where every person can feel that he or she has a meaningful life. In our work, we wish to strengthen young people’s trust in the future, feeling of togetherness and skills. We influence in society together with our extensive network of partners. The Foundation was established in 2001, and it is politically and religiously neutral. We reach about 20 000 young people annually.
TietoEVRY creates digital advantage for businesses and society. We are a leading digital services and software company with local presence and global capabilities. Our Nordic values and heritage steer our success.
Headquartered in Finland, TietoEVRY employs around 24 000 experts globally. The company serves thousands of enterprises and public sector customers in more than 90 countries. TietoEVRY’s annual turnover is approximately EUR 3 billion and its shares are listed on the NASDAQ in Helsinki and Stockholm as well as on the Oslo Børs. www.tietoevry.com