Guidance for Educators

What does the guidance for educators include?

 A definition of online hate

 Information about the research this resource is based on

 Advice on establishing a safe and supportive learning environment

 Advice on recognising and acknowledging differences in opinion

 Important safeguarding and reporting information

 A printable one-page for bother educators and learners on online hate and the law

 A glossary which can also be printed and used as a definition card matching activity

Download the full Guidance for Educators:

Read some of the key sections from the guidance by clicking in the boxes below:

  • What is online hate? Open or Close

    Online hate refers to any online communication or content (including use of words, pictures, video, symbols, memes and emojis) which seeks to isolate, harass, dehumanize, or target an individual or group of individuals based on their identity.

    Online behaviours which seek to promote or justify hate are also included (e.g. liking or sharing a hateful post).

  • Establishing a safe and supportive learning environment Open or Close

    Many of the themes and discussions arising from this resource are sensitive and may be distressing or difficult for some young people to talk about openly. Part of the reason online hate can be so hurtful is that it can form part of a broader and damaging experience of systematic oppression and discrimination. Therefore, it is important that all learners feel safe and supported, but also that there are clear ground rules and expectations for what is and is not acceptable, especially with regards to hate speech. You should also be clear on your setting’s policies regarding use of offensive or discriminatory language.

    You may wish to:

    • work together with learners to establish ground rules that clearly state the expectations for behaviour and communication,
    • inform learners in advance of the nature of the session, so that they can prepare for the conversations about to take place,
    • establish a separate safe space supervised by a member of staff, where a learner can access additional support, especially if they find conversations in the session triggering,
    • consider how to set up your physical space to best support your learners and their discussion.
  • Recognising and acknowledging differences in opinion Open or Close

    Recognition and celebration of difference is a key part of this resource, with many of the discussion prompts and activities specifically designed to support young people in considering how other’s experiences may differ from their own.

    It is likely that some of the learners in your setting will identify with or share characteristics that our research showed made them more likely to be a target of online hate. As an educator, you will be familiar with how some of these characteristics present and intersect among the young people you work with, though you may not know exactly which are relevant for every child.

    It is important to ensure that discussion of all characteristics is tolerant, respectful, and positive, regardless of whether these traits are represented in a group of learners or not. It must also be recognised that many of the young people in your care will have lived experiences of prejudice, both online and offline, but that this does not mean they should be expected to speak about or for a particular group.

    Additionally, it is possible that some learners in your setting will identify with or share hateful attitudes that this resource works to counter. If this becomes apparent, the safety and care of all learners is the priority.

    Revisit established ground rules and reference any policies for your school/setting which make clear that hate speech will not be tolerated. Learners with protected characteristics who may have been disproportionately affected should also be offered additional support and safeguarding, including a check-in at the end of the session.

    Whilst it is important to explain why prejudice and intolerance are wrong, young people should not be publicly judged or shamed and instead may benefit from a more private, targeted discussion outside of the main session.

  • Safeguarding and Reporting Open or Close

    When using this resource and discussing the research findings, it is possible that learners may make disclosures about things they have seen or experienced online. If a young person in your care discloses something to you, related to the internet and the use of technology, then the same reporting procedures used for any safeguarding incident offline can and should be used. There is more information and support in this area, including online reporting tools on the Childnet website.