Moral Courage 2.0
Mechanisms and effects of morally courageous interventions of teenagers dealing with perceived violence on the Internet
Problem definition and relevance: Young people are particularly often victims of severe actively exercised violence on the Internet such as cyberbullying (e.g. insulting postings, racist or salacious offenses, extortion or importunating with pornographic contents), confrontation with shocking videos (e.g. showing realistic executions), improper usage of Facebook accounts, compilation of fake profiles or threats of physical violence or death. Such attacks happen, for example, in social networks, on photo or video platforms, in chats or via instant messaging. They may even be more severe than those in real life as the virtual distance and anonymity lead to an increasing disinhibition of the perpetrators who often do not even realize the emotional consequences for the victim. It is particularly distressing for cyber victims that such attacks are exhibited in front of a larger uncontrolled and uninvolved audience (online bystanders) – although especially this virtual public has a high potential for intervention. However, moral courage on the Internet seems to be no subject of importance for young people.
Objective: The project therefore focuses on the high preventive potential of juvenile online bystanders, which by now has been hardly considered in security research. The main aim of the research project is to contribute to essential basic research by identifying underlying factors, mechanisms and effects, which support or inhibit the moral courage of young people in online contexts. Furthermore, the project aims at sustainably encouraging juveniles for moral courage on the Internet by developing an adequate repertoire of interventions for young people and conceptualising comprehensive information and training measures. This is done in collaboration with the project partners ÖIAT/Saferinternet.at, the Austrian information centre for safe and responsible use of digital media, the Mauthausen Komitee Österreich (www.zivilcourage.at), which offers Austrian-wide professional trainings in moral courage for young people, and the Department of Crime Prevention and Victim Support / Criminal Intelligence Service Austria, Federal Ministry of the Interior.
Methodical implementation: The study starts with an exploratory phase with the aim to identify typical scenarios of moral courage by juveniles in online contexts. Regarding methods, focus groups with young persons and expert interviews will be used. Furthermore, we examine the conditions of moral courage and appropriate models for action. With a quantitative vignette study among young people aged 14 to 18, relevant conditions and possible courses of action are systematically analysed with the help of hypothetically constructed variations of scenarios of moral courage in the social web. Based on the empirical results, moral courage training concepts, targeted information offers (online or otherwise), as well as teaching opportunities for juveniles and professional youth workers will be developed in cooperation with the project partners.
Ass. Prof.in Mag.a Dr.in Ulrike Zartler, Institut für Soziologie der Universität Wien
Weitere Projekt- bzw. KooperationspartnerInnen
ÖIAT - Österreichisches Institut für angewandte Telekommunikation / saferinternet.at
MKÖ -Mauthausen Komitee Österreich (www.zivilcourage.at)
KPH - Kirchliche Pädagogische Hochschule Wien/Krems
BM.I – Bundeskriminalamt, Büro 1.6 Kriminalprävention und Opferhilfe