A Nordic Cure for Online Hate Speech and Bullying?

A Nordic IT company has developed a new tool designed to curb online bullying among kids.

The proposed solution is an open-source font that rewrites hurtful words as you type. The idea is to “disarm cyberbullies,” developer TietoEVRY Oyj said.

Writing “I hate you” would, for example, result in the milder “I disagree with you” when Polite Type is activated on the computer. The font blurs words without a literal translation or with a meaning too broad to replace with just one word.

A Nordic Cure for Online Hate Speech and Bullying?

More than a third of bullying takes place online, and the numbers are on the rise, TietoEVRY said, citing a report by the United Nations’ educational organization UNESCO. The Finnish-Norwegian company developed the font in collaboration with a diverse team with backgrounds in anti-racism and inclusion, and teenagers were also involved in the process, according to a statement.

“We want bullies to rethink the words they use and the actual meaning behind them,” said Kia Haring, global head of communication and sustainability at TietoEVRY. “I hope that our cause acts as a wake-up call for all audiences to consider how bullying could be tackled.”

The Polite Type can be downloaded and used for free.

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