Hate Speech Recommendation: Mutual Hate Speech

In the past week, your child played a game where hate speech was used by both your child and other gamers. Here are some recommendations on how to speak with your child about these types of comments:

Tips for a conversation about Hate Speech (11-14):

1. Explain that you were notified that your child and other gamers used language that was considered ‘Hate Speech,’ defined as abusive language based on prejudice against someone for their race, gender, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation.

2. Hate speech is often used to belittle someone else or to exert power over them, and tweens and teens should be taught not to respond this way to anyone, even when they’re angry.

You can also use these tips for your conversation about hate speech:

  • Ask your child to think about what they may have said and share it with you. They may be too embarrassed to talk about it. Approach the conversation calmly and let them know you would like to clarify your position and values related to hate speech and to help them better understand the meaning and effects of their words.
  • Younger children may have used hate speech without fully understanding the seriousness of it. Older children need to know that this kind of language can be considered harassment, which is a crime. Hate speech can be considered a crime if a person’s “verbal insult toward a group or a person includes a threat of violence or incitement of criminal activity.” http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/hate
  • Find out why they used this language in the game rather than choosing other words. Whether or not you condone cursing, this is a good chance to discuss that general cursing would be less hurtful/less serious than insulting someone based on gender, race, etc.
  • Think about your family values regarding hate speech and share them with your child. Here is an article that can help you with this conversation.
  • Remind your child that they can pick who they want to play with and can always mute the chat and report/block players who are using hate speech against other gamers.