Teens, advocates teach Suffolk HS students about inclusivity in online spaces

Local teens and advocates taught Suffolk County high schoolers how to make online spaces more inclusive.
It was part of the Suffolk Y JCC’s Youth Leadership Conference event Friday called “Fighting Hate In Social Media And Gaming.” The event brought together local high school students from across Suffolk County.
Daniel Kelley, director of Strategy and Operations at the Anti-Defamation League Center for Technology and Society, says it all starts with looking at online behavior differently.
"We need to change the norms for what we expect from online platforms,” he said.
Speakers say part of the problem lies with tech companies.
"Tech companies haven't invested enough in addressing the problems of hate and harassment. Social media companies have to some degree, and the video game industry in particular is about 10 years behind even social media,” said Kelley.
Still, speakers say everyone is responsible for creating a safe environment in online spaces.
"There is of course a responsibility for individuals, for young people, for families to think about, 'what does it mean to be an ally and online multiplayer game or social media spaces,’” said Kelley.
As students learned, ending hate online starts by shifting expectations of online conduct.
"We need to shift our thinking to stop expecting them to exist in these spaces and find ways to make online platforms safe, respectful, and inclusive for all people,” he said.
Organizers say they planned this event almost two years ago and because of the recent rise in antisemitism, the lessons shared couldn't be more timely.