ADL Addresses Encountered Bias, Bigotry, Discrimination and Hate on Social Media

Jinnie Spiegler, Daniel Kelley and Scott Richman

By Stephen E. Lipken


Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Westchester hosted an online Seminar, “Our Kids and Social Media: Best Practices for Parents” on Thursday, October 27th, featuring panelists Daniel Kelley, Director of Strategy and Operations, ADL Center for Technology and Society, plus Jinnie Spiegler, ADL Director of Curriculum and Training, moderated by Scott Richman, ADL Regional Director, New York/New Jersey.


Spiegler remarked that Cartoon Network partnered with Cyberbullying Research Center in 2020 to conduct a national representative survey of “tweens,” kids ages 9 to 12 years old on social media, to better understand cyberbullying prevalence and behaviors among this age group. 


Kelley said that social media and online games are part of our online ecosystem, important spaces where young people explore relationships and build friendships in which the online systems do not have to be shut down, but taking action regarding hatred.


“Every year we conduct a nationally representative survey, which looks at hate and harassment from the perspective of those being targeted.  We asked young people 13 to 17 about their experience of hate online; 47% said they had experienced hate and harassment on social media; pointing out that LGTBQ experiences are different than Jewish experiences.  


ADL member Larry Bahr said that that there was concern regarding the amount of time kids spend online “and we should focus on how to protect our children.”

On a Shared Screen, the question was asked, “Which of the following controls have you set up for your child? The following suggestions were made:


“Block access to adult content; Block or prevent making purchases; Block the ability to add strangers as ‘friends; Block the ability to text chat with strangers; Limit the amount of hours that are being played; Block the ability to voice chat with strangers; Prevent children from adjusting the settings of their online gaming profile {different for players of different ages in your household}; Block the ability to join multiplayer games.”  


Spiegler concluded that much online harassment is identity based, targeting gender, sexual orientation, weight, appearance and disabilities.