University of Coimbra, Faculty of Arts and Humanities (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2021 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 6115-6119
ISBN: 978-84-09-27666-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2021.1227
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Internet and digital technologies have become an essential part of everyday life, changing the way we move in the private sphere. They also have operated profound transformations in the public domain, with recognized positive effects on women’s and minorities public participation. However, the increased connectivity to social media and other online contents have also given way to harmful behaviours, that disproportionately affect women and groups with less status. Subjected to harassment, insults, and different kind of expressions of online abuse, women and minorities are frequently far from finding in digital technologies a way for individual liberation and democratic renewal.

By showing that much of the victims of the toxic environments are women, feminist research has made it clear how social media and different digital platforms reproduce offline dominant gender norms and facilitate new ways of violence (Sundén & Paasonen 2018; Marwick & Caplan, 2018).

Despite the increasing interest in determining online abuse prevalence rates, as well as its risks and consequences, little attention has been paid to men’s and women’s understandings of harmful digital interactions. The primary purpose of this paper is to show how young adults’ conversations may help hate speech and misogyny detection and prevention. Using feminist critical discourse analysis (Lazar, 2018) and drawing evidence from five focus groups with 30 Portuguese and Brazilian young men and women (aged 19 to 22), it aims to reveal how young adults learn to detect and prevent online abuse. By sharing experiences of digital interactions, naming and evaluating their and third-party reactions to online abuse, young adults acquire skills to map and avoid online violence, making digital platforms safer. The paper thus highlights how critical digital literacy can be put into practice by informal education activities.
Informal education, Online abuse, Young adults’ digital interactions, Critical digital literacy.