The purpose of this paper is to explore internet users’ experiences of cyberhate in the aspects of ethnicity, religion, sexual preference and political perspective.
Researchers employed an exploratory survey method to examine internet users’ experiences of cyberhate. The participants of the study were determined by purposive sampling methods to attain maximum variety among internet users with high-level digital literacy skills. The data were collected from 355 internet users affiliated with two universities in Turkey and the USA using a personal data form and a survey (Cyberhate Experience Survey) of which reliability and validity indexes were ensured.
The results indicated that participants have observed and experienced cyberhate at different levels targeting their ethnic, religious, gender-based and political identities. The findings also pointed out that gender, income and socio-political identities are significant variables on exposure to cyberhate regardless of cultural and educational boundaries. The majority of survey respondents reported that they had encountered cyberhate mostly on social media platforms.
The findings of the study imply that to address the hate speech problem comprehensively, the author must enlighten people, change their way of thinking and broaden their perspectives by using measures such as intercultural dialogue, critical thinking, media literacy, education on tolerance and diversity.
This research was intended to contribute into the need to elaborate on various aspects of cyberhate, which is shared by academics, thinkers, journalists and educators. It may also serve to clarify how frequently internet users encounter hateful content and harassment online, which can have social consequences and influence young people’s trust to other people.
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