Level 1 | Level  2 | Level 3 | Answers

Hate speech has risen by 20% in the US and UK since the start of COVID-19. Hate speech is when someone says something bad about a person that they can’t change. For example, saying something bad about a person’s race or religion. A charity for young people looked at 263 million online conversations. The conversations were from the US and UK between 2019 – 2021. 50.1 million of the conversations included hate speech.

Most of the hate speech happened during big news events. One of the events was when the WHO called COVID-19 a pandemic. Another big event was the Black Lives Matter protests in June 2020. Hate speech was high during these events.

The charity’s CEO said this happened because many people were stuck at home during lockdowns. He said people who bully others usually have low mental health. Lockdowns hurt many people’s mental health. The CEO said people were bored, had too much time, and didn’t feel like they had control of their lives. So, they said bad things online.

The CEO said that this news is important because people think hate speech is normal now. He said hate speech should never be a normal part of life. People need to be taught that hate speech is bad and dangerous. The charity wants to make a law about online hate speech. The law would make social media companies control hate speech.

Difficult words

Speech (n): Expressing yourself through speaking.

Pandemic (n): A disease happening all over a country or the world.

Protest (n): A group of people gathering to show they don’t like something.

Bully (v/n): To constantly bother someone and say things you don’t like about them.

Mental (adj): About your mind or brain.

Activities

For listening practice, listen to the recorded article here:

American English Audio: Coming Soon!

Match the Synonym!

1. Speech A. Disease
2. Pandemic B. Talking
3. Protest C. Bother
4. Bully D. Mind
5. Mental E. Complain

True or False?

1. Hate speech has gone down by 20%. T / F

2. A charity studied people’s conversations. T / F

3. Hate speech happens during big news events. T / F

4. People could travel freely during lockdowns. T / F

5. Bullies usually have bad mental health. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. has / 20% / risen / Hate / speech / by

2. of / included / the / conversations / 50.1 million / hate / speech

3. high / during / was / events / these / Hate / speech

4. health / people’s / hurt / Lockdowns / many / mental

5. charity / law / make / The / a / to / wants

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

American English Audio: Coming Soon!

StuckEventsNormal
RisenDangerousIncluded

Hate speech has (1)_______ by 20% in the US and UK since the start of COVID-19. Hate speech is when someone says something bad about a person that they can’t change. For example, saying something bad about a person’s race or religion. A charity for young people looked at 263 million online conversations. The conversations were from the US and UK between 2019 – 2021. 50.1 million of the conversations (2)_________ hate speech.

Most of the hate speech happened during big news events. One of the events was when the WHO called COVID-19 a pandemic. Another big event was the Black Lives Matter protests in June 2020. Hate speech was high during these (3)_________.

The charity’s CEO said this happened because many people were (4)________ at home during lockdowns. He said people who bully others usually have low mental health. Lockdowns hurt many people’s mental health. The CEO said people were bored, had too much time, and didn’t feel like they had control of their lives. So, they said bad things online.

The CEO said that this news is important because people think hate speech is (5)__________ now. He said hate speech should never be a normal part of life. People need to be taught that hate speech is bad and (6)_____________. The charity wants to make a law about online hate speech. The law would make social media companies control hate speech.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Have you seen hate speech online before?
5. Do you think online hate speech is a problem in your country?
6. Is it the government’s job to fix the issue of hate speech?
7. Are there any other reasons you think hate speech has risen during COVID-19?
8. How can we educate young people about hate speech?
9. Should hate speech be taught about in schools?
10. Is it social media websites’ job to control hate speech?
11. Do you think hate speech is dangerous?
12. Do you think young people suffer from more hate speech than older people?
13. Should children be allowed on social media?
14. Do you often use social media?
15. Did you experience a lockdown? Did it affect your mental health?
16. Were there bullies in your school as a child?
17. What should schools do about bullies?
18. Do you think people have become more prejudiced towards each other since COVID-19?
19. Are people very divided in your country?
20. What has been the hardest part about COVID-19 for you?