“It is not a real world, it is just the Internet”

 A young guy told us: “I don’t care about that stuff that is going on internet. I strongly believe that people, who care too much about bulling or cyberstalking have mental disorders.” His friends had nothing to add. We asked this boy and his friends about their personal experience on internet. Did they know about the idea of the Safe Internet? “Yes, I heard that terrible story about Amanda Todd”, - said a beautiful young girl, “But, you know, he (she pointed on that guy, which just seconds ago told us about his thoughts) does not care because it can never happened with him. He is too popular in our school”. Young people around started supportive remarks: “Yeah, we don’t need your information about No Hate Speech and about Safety on Internet. We don’t care and you also shouldn't be so serious about it”.

We had this short conversation yesterday, on the Safer Internet Day, in the Sofia Park around National Palace of Culture. Sun was shining brightly, not a single cloud was on the sky. On the day like this, you feel like it is the middle of the spring. In a few days Valentine’s Day will be celebrated and one wants to forget about everything that is anxious, scary, thrilling and unpleasant. However, ignoring such thoughts does not deny its existence.

The street activity that we performed on the occasion of the Safe Internet Day was another one of our, already almost traditional “Collecting faces against hate speech” street actions. The main purpose and the fundamental goal we want to achieve is to raise awareness about safe internet and no hate speech movement. We don’t need to change the world. We start small:  it will change itself if we change the attitude.

During our action we experienced that many people accept idea of tolerance and no hate speech as natural mode of life. Therefore we hope talking to them, giving them more information about relevant sources, institutions and NGOs functioning in this field did contribute to our ultimate goal of spreading awareness. We are quite excited that the above-mentioned chat with the group of teenagers was rather exception, than a rule. It is natural to meet people, which have strongly opposite values from those of your own. To convince somebody to change their minds is hard in a short talk. Changing or forming of the beliefs is long and sometimes painful process. Nonetheless, it can also be enjoyable and relievable experience.

What have we learned from yesterday’s experience?  We should do more. And we will do it! Follow us on twitter or check out the  IOA fb-page and website and you will discover new actions and news. Your Picture is not in here? See the rest of the pictures in the gallery of our website or on our Facebook page.

Let’s make the internet a better place together!


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