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Last on

Mon 18 May 2009 20:00 BBC Radio 4

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 18 May 2009

Reporter Andy Martin investigates why the first generation to grow up with peace in Northern Ireland is using social networking sites to spread messages of sectarian hatred.

Until recently it was safe for many to assume that life in Northern Ireland was more settled than it had been for decades. However, research carried out by Queens University, Belfast, pointed out something that many youth workers on the front line, and anyone looking at Bebo or Facebook websites, already knew: that the young people growing up with peace were showing themselves to be just as sectarian as their parents and grandparents.

Messages of abuse and murals of segregation may be coming down from the gables of houses and buildings, but on the 'walls' of social networking sites they are multiplying rapidly.

Andy asks why teenagers with no direct experience of the Troubles are determined to continue the arguments and sectarianism of the past. He talks to young people who explain why their harbour such feelings. He talks to teachers, parents and youth workers about the difficulties of policing these websites, which are being used to organise meetings between Catholics and Protestants to taunt one another and even to fight or riot.

The programme also examines cases where such hatred has led to savage violence and murder.

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