In our modern, interconnected world it is easier than ever for groups that are calling to violence, segregation and hatred to make their voice heard over huge distances and large masses of people and to propagate their ideology in the virtual space. Violence represents a negation of peace, and it is regarded as the use or threat of use of force, both in physical and psychological sense. By understanding that the issues of peace and violence have gone online as well, we can help develop approaches to combat the spread of violence and promote peaceful coexistence of people of different ethnic, religious, sexual or political backgrounds.
Our goals are:
Violence is all present in the world, and it is very hard to escape it. The rise of the internet and social media platforms has made the problem even worse and widespread. Protected by the anonymity that these platforms bring, people can use the Internet to spread hate speech and call to violence without fear of ever being held responsible for that. The children and the youth are especially vulnerable, the fact demonstrated by a large number of children and youth who have harmed themselves because of cyberbullying in the last couple of years.
Fight against violence on the Internet demands coordination between institutions of social work, schools, police and civil society organizations. By educating internet users how to behave, communicate and act in the online world from the earliest age we can help alleviate the problem of online violence and hate speech. New methods for non-formal education and conflict transformation are being developed all the time, and they can also have a great impact on the reduction of violence in the virtual space.
The methods for online intervention that we propose are genuinely inclined towards the conflict transformation. Their main goal is to try to utilize the online tools in order to alter the attitudes of conflict parties. What they try to achieve is to change the way in which parties perceive themselves and their relationship. Additionally, some of the methods are designed with the aim to use advantages of online tools for empowering certain social groups and individuals whose position is structurally weakened and unbalanced.
These methods we have developed should be regarded as only some of many ways in which youth can use online tools for transforming conflicts. We hope that conflict transformation practitioners will find them useful in their daily work.