The use of internet and smartphone have an extensive impact on the formation of identity in young people. The web is not only a tool for communication, but also the first point of reference for information on current events. Social media confronts children and youth early on with images and reports, that might frighten them. It is difficult to differentiate between opinions and news and between rumours and facts, which allows conspiracy theorists and extremists to instrumentalise media for their cause, stoke fears and even radicalize youth.
The model project Culture of Conflict 3.0 approaches these topics in a dialogue-oriented way: young people are being sensitized to hatred, discrimination and agitation on the web in a participative process and develop strategies, youth-focused approaches and learning media (comic films; app) for dealing with hatred on the web together with the Berghof Foundation team. Using innovative methods, the project strengthens the media- and information competence of young people and supports the development of skills, which enable them to critically consume media. This allows them to participate in an open and democratic discussion culture online. The project will finally design dialogue labs which will be offered for schools and in youth work and which will be conducted by qualified youth (peers) and teachers.
The project "Culture of Conflict 3.0 is funded from September 2017 until December 2019 by the Federal Programme "Live Democracy!" with means of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and the Federal Agency for Civic Education.
After nearly one year project duration of Culture of Conflict 3.0, the agenda of the second meeting of the project advisory board included an exchange about the previous project activities and an expert discussion on the further implementation steps.
While the first meeting was mainly about the initial steps of the project, the second meeting turned on a common reflection of the previous project activities and experiences of the past year. The participants of the board provided expert feedback and subject-specific suggestions on the workshops with the youth council as well as on the animated films.
Additionally, they dealt with the realization of the dialogue labs, which will be offered for schools and in youth work, conducted by qualified youth (peers) and teachers. The project advisory board supports the Berghof team in the development process of the dialogue labs and the app that is used for the provision of the labs. Members agreed that with the dialogue labs the youth should be made aware of ethical considerations of the different topics of hatred and conflicts on the internet.
For the fourth time, participants of the youth council met in the context of the project Culture of Conflict 3.0. Under the heading of ‘responsibility in the internet’, the participants dealt with the issues of big data and privacy and furthermore raised the question on how a peaceful co-existence can also be achieved digitally.
The first day of the workshop was accompanied by Jasmin Mühlbach, referent of erlebe IT by bitkom and was about the phenomenon of big data. First of all, basic concepts of big data were elaborated together with the participants. Subsequent to this theoretical introduction, they took part in a QR-code rally with their smartphone and therein practically dealt with the added value, but also the dangers and risks of the immense data collection. On the basis of a fictional scenario, the youth dealt with the topic of big data from various perspectives.
Jointly together with the project team of the Berghof Foundation, the participants developed approaches for responsible behavior in the internet on the second day of the workshop. The youth discussed the question as to what extent big data may violate privacy. Afterwards, they thought of ways for individuals to protect themselves against it. Following an input on conflicts in the internet, the participants debated possible values dilemmas in the internet and how a responsible dealing with these dilemmas should look like. In the end, the group developed an initial concept for making an explanatory movie to be used for the website www.frieden-fragen.de.
“I am often surprised that so much trust is being given to the Internet, since it can put democracy at risk”, said one participant of the youth council of the project “Culture of Conflict 3.0”. The statement illustrates the core of the workshop: the sensitization for a critical and reflected behavior in the internet.
For the third time, the youth council met in the context of the project. This time, the youth dealt with the question of how social bots and algorithms influence opinion making in the internet. Moreover, they discussed possible impacts of these particular phenomena on democracy and a pluralistic society.
Aytekin Celik, referent of the Media Academy Baden-Württemberg, accompanied the first day of the workshop. The participants dealt with possible consequences of artificial intelligence, algorithms and bots. In groups, they discussed the use of algorithms in areas like personnel decisions and police work. The second day was about the social consequences of social bots, algorithms and information bubbles. Everyone seemed to agree that these bubbles are dangerous because they can lead to a confirmation bias that reinforces particular worldviews and excludes other views and that it is hard to break out of their own information bubbles.
Why is hate speech not an opinion? When is hatred violence? Moreover, what is important in dealing with hatred on the internet? Participants of the Youth Council asked these and many other questions in the context of the second workshop on "Hatred on the internet". A referent of the project "Love Storm - Together against hatred on the Internet" accompanied the first part of the workshop. The participants discussed what hate speech means, how concepts like digital violence, cyberbullying, digital harassment differ from each other and how the structures of the Internet can enable and even reinforce digital violence and hatred. With that in mind, they developed possible strategies against hatred on the Internet.
The second part of the two-day workshop covered the questions of what effects Hate Speech has on democracy and human rights and of how democratic values can be lived online. In a heated discussion, participants dealt with the recently adopted Network Enforcement Act and the underlying tension between freedom of expression and the protection of personal rights. Finally, a small group conducted a street survey on "Hatred on the Internet", while a second group developed an initial concept for making an explanatory movie to be used for the website www.frieden-fragen.de.
In December 2017, the advisory board of the project Streitkultur 3.0 held its first meeting, focusing on coming project steps and the future development within the project.
The project advisory board is composed of Dr. Ruth Festl (German Youth Institute, from January onwards Leibniz Institute for Knowledge Media, Tübingen), Dr. Maya Götz (Head of the International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television at Bayrischer Rundfunk, Munich), Dr. Jessica Heesen (International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities, Tübingen), Claudia Lampert (Hans Bredow Institute, Hamburg) and Dr. Nils Brüggen (JFF-Institute for Media Research and Media Education, Munich). The board supports the project with subject-specific input and expertise. During the first meeting, the project team and the advisory board mainly discussed different aspects of learning settings, the use of smartphones in schools and the potential creation of new digital learning spaces. Moreover, the focus was on the conception of dialogue laboratories, which aim at providing young people with a space for dialogue and encouraging them to negotiate new ideas and opinions.
What is real and truth? How can one deal with masses of information in the internet? Participants of the newly formed Youth Council addressed these and other questions as part of the project "Culture of Conflict 3.0". Under the guidance of an expert from the media centre of Baden-Wurttemberg, the members of the council dealt with different types of fake news. Of particular relevance were ways with which young people can identify fake news, for example through the critical analysis of different sources of information, the usage of photographic material, as well as statistics. The participants recommended to be truthfully informed and to bring together facts from different sources. Jointly together with the project team of the Berghof Foundation, the youth finally developed an initial concept for making an explanatory movie to be used for the website www.frieden-fragen.de.
The second event of the project "Streitkultur 3.0: Gegen Hass im Internet" was focused on the conception and production of cartoons. 15 participants from the Youth Council learnt how to distinguish between different forms of explanatory films. With support of an expert (Silke Hilgers), the youth analyzed relevant elements of a film and specifically focused on the symbolization of speaker's texts. Moreover, they were introduced into the function of a storyboard, precise wording and the diversity of representing figures. Based on example topics, the youth developed their initial film script and filmed their designed cartoon in the production phase. During the workshop, the biggest challenge was a necessary timing of speaker's text and graphic materials.
In the end of October, the Project 'Culture of Conflict 3.0"' started in Tübingen with a first meeting of the Youth Council. On this occasion, 22 students from five schools in Tübingen and Rottenburg came together to specify their areas of interests within the project.
The Youth Council members dealt with the five main thematic areas of the project, namely fake or fact, hate speech on the internet, internet bots and algorithms, critical media competence as well as personal engagement in the internet. The students then discussed essential points and remaining questions together. They all agreed that 'hatred is not an appropriate response to hatred', as one participant put it.
Over the next months, the members of the Youth Council will address the thematic areas in detail and will become more familiar with various didactic methods. During the workshops, the youth will develop contents and methods for so-called dialogue laboratories, which then will be carried out in schools and out-of-school youth work with a specially developed App. Explanatory films and a specially developed App play an important role.