Hate on the net silences young people

Young people suffer from hate on the net - and fall silent. This is what the special survey "JIMplus 2022" on hate speech and fake news suggests. According to the survey, one in three respondents said they no longer post their opinions publicly. The reason for this is the fear of negative comments. The study also shows that many young people perceive hate and fake news, but rarely do anything about it.

Hate on the net silences young people.

The JIM study shows that one third of young people no longer post their opinions publicly for fear of negative reactions.

The supplementary study to the Youth, Information, Media (JIM) study series, published in July 2022, shows: Young people regularly encounter fake news and hate speech on the internet. For the study, a qualitative survey was conducted and in June 2022, a representative online survey was conducted with twelve to 19-year-olds throughout Germany. According to the experience of the respondents, hate speech is particularly directed against people's sexuality as well as their body shape or skin colour. The most common reaction to inhumane postings is anger. Almost half of the respondents feel the need to intervene. But very few do. Two thirds say they mostly ignore hate speech and do not react at all.

Hatespeech limits the diversity of opinions online 

Young people are clearly aware that hate on the internet influences society and their own actions. 57 percent are of the opinion that hate speech restricts freedom of opinion online. Many young people fall silent: 40 percent of those surveyed said they have friends who participate less in online discussions because of hate comments. And a third no longer post their opinions publicly for fear of negative reactions.

Majority perceive hate speech as violence

No wonder, because hate speech is perceived as violence by three quarters of the girls and around 60 percent of the boys. However, when they themselves or someone in their immediate environment becomes the target of hate on the internet, young people react more actively than in a public context. In private, they deal with hate with people close to them, block the senders, confront them online or report hate postings on the platform.

Every second person asks their parents about fake news in case of doubt

Fake news - defined by the respondents as deliberately spreading false information on the internet - has also been noticed by 80% of the respondents. Especially in relation to Corona and public figures, the respondents perceive deliberate disinformation. They measure whether a news item is true or not primarily by whether other sources also report on it. In case of doubt, every second person asks their parents whether the content is true or rather questionable.

Overall, in view of the high everyday relevance of fake news and hate speech, the importance of dealing competently with problematic content on the internet becomes clear. Teaching media competence is becoming increasingly important. With our partner organisations, our own initiative Teachtoday and the age-appropriate children's and youth magazine Scroller, we want to contribute to enlightenment, education and the teaching of digital civil courage.

The detailed study results are available as a chart report at


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No Hate Speech

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