Google have launched a series of workshops in the UK for 13-18-year-olds, as part of their worldwide 'YouTube Creators for Change' program. The day-long workshops aim to help teenagers become better "Internet Citizens" by teaching them how to recognize and report fake news and how to flag or report offensive or upsetting content, as well as promoting "awareness, tolerance, and empathy." Online trolls, hate speech, and the spread of fake news are serious problems, which Google believes they can combat by giving teenagers the tools and confidence to report inappropriate content in any form. The workshops are designed by the Institute of Strategic Dialogue, along with a group of outside advisers from organizations such as the Active Change Foundation, and the Met police.
Google is particularly concerned with the effect that hate speech and fake news has on teenage users, as they may lack the skills and knowledge to be able to deal with issues such as these effectively, especially when it is shared on social media by someone they know and trust. This series of workshops will teach attendees how to participate "safely and responsibly" when engaging in online discussions. They will also be taught fact-checking skills in order to recognize fake news, and personal skills to deal with online negativity. Other topics will also be explored, such as how diverse groups of individuals can be brought together with the power of video.
Google say they have been testing the program in recent weeks before rolling it out, and that they have seen "promising results." They also stated that they have been working on ways to tackle the growing problem of online hate speech, including partnering with experts and using innovative technology and say they will be releasing updates about their work in the coming weeks. The workshops start today in Liverpool, is part of YouTube's wider Internet Citizens initiative and will be hosted by MTV presenter and Tedx speaker, Alain "Fusion" Clapham, along with YouTube creator Nadir Nahdi, creator and founder of BENI, which is a digital platform, and Efe Ezekiel, a professional mentor and youth worker. The sessions will be held at youth groups all over the UK in the coming weeks in partnership with UK Youth.