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Sustainability & Society

UNIQA Poland taking actions against online hate

16.2.2022 5 minutes reading time

According to a report by the Polish National Research Institute NASK, as many as three out of four schoolchildren have experienced some form of cyberbullying. One out of three has not reported it to anyone. These figures translate into teenagers´ mental health declining with each passing year and, in the worst cases, also increasingly frequent tragedies such as suicide attempts. That is why UNIQA Poland and the Lem Institute have joined forces in the “Ogarnij hejt” (“Curb Hate”) project to educate and counteract online hate jointly. 

Online hate as a social problem

The UNIQA brand's "living better together" strategy incorporates a commitment to improving the quality of life for our customers. Mental well-being is one of the areas where UNIQA Poland is particularly committed to supporting them in their efforts to "live a better life". By observing the rapidly changing world and the problems faced by clients, their families, and their loved ones, UNIQA Poland has identified one of the critical areas that can negatively impact mental well-being. It is online hate that has grown in intensity, especially during the time of the pandemic. Children and young people at the time lived in a virtual world, which brought about several risks and threats. Online hate was the most severe of them all. For this reason, UNIQA Poland decided to roll out tangible measures at the communication and product levels. 

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Developing a suitable product

The starting point was to provide customers with adequate insurance coverage. In 2020, UNIQA Poland launched a school insurance scheme with an option against online hate. This innovative insurance offers, among other things, legal protection and includes the consequences of breaching the insured's good name or right to privacy on the Internet, including social media. Its initial version featured legal assistance and the support of an IT specialist. In the following year, the product was extended with the aid of a psychologist for two in-person visits and unlimited teleconsultations. This support has now been increased for ten inpatient visits. 

We aim to establish a permanent link between education about hate online and the UNIQA brand. If the brand truly intends to be present in the customers’ life, to be part of it - and we do - it must be mindful of the changing environment and the customers’ needs. And customise the offer to make sure it provides viable support in the most emotionally difficult moments. We therefore speak out about this important social problem. We show how cyberbullying works and how to stand up to it.

Agnieszka Durst-Wilczyńska, Director Brand Management at UNIQA Poland

Communication campaign in social media 

The subsequent step was launching a communication and awareness-raising campaign. Three years ago, UNIQA Poland, in cooperation with psychologist Magdalena Chorzewska, launched a virtual psychological counseling center, hence kicking off an educational project entitled "Use your power to fight hate". The first campaign was delivered on social media – where people are most likely to be confronted with hate. On Instagram, a series of meetings called INSTAporadnia were organized and the most frequently asked questions about online hate were answered in a video counseling session. In 2021, UNIQA Poland invited two highly recognizable national parent influencers to join the project: Kamil Nowak, known as Blog Ojciec (Blog Father), and actress Anna Mucha. They shared their own experiences of being subjected to hate. Blog Ojciec shared his story about how he was bullied at school as a kid. Meanwhile, Anna Mucha talked about how she had to protect her children's privacy so that they are not affected by hate, something she is confronted with daily. Thanks to Anna and Kamil's social media outreach, the gravity of the problem was made public, with many internet portals also picking up the issue. 

Three out of four schoolchildren have experienced some form of cyberbullying. One out of three has never reported it to anyone. These figures demonstrate that we are dealing with a large-scale phenomenon. A phenomenon that remains a taboo in many schools. The “Curb Hate” project was born out of the need to raise awareness of on-line safety. Awareness not only among pupils themselves, but also - or rather especially - among teachers and parents.

Maciej Kawecki, PhD, President of the Lem Institute, and ambassador of the joint campaign

In 2022, UNIQA Poland implemented a wide-ranging campaign focusing on online hate for the first time. It was designed based on in-depth marketing research. As part of this research, a series of interviews with parents and teenagers were conducted in order to understand their perspectives and perception of the phenomenon. The differing, sometimes even conflicting viewpoints of teenagers and adults allowed UNIQA to generate a list of communication insights that formed the basis for other marketing activities. A cultural analysis complemented the research, an in-depth report analyzing the content published on social media of generation Z (closed Facebook groups, influencers on YouTube and Instagram, TikTok, etc.). Based on the research findings, a TV spot was produced depicting the story of a girl experiencing hate online presented in a metaphoric game of hide and seek. In this symbolic way, UNIQA Poland demonstrated that it is impossible to hide from hate, but with the help of parents, it is easier to get through it. UNIQA Poland is a reliable partner in this process and provides viable support. 

Partnership with Stanisław Lem Institute 

In the same year, UNIQA became a partner of the Stanisław Lem Institute for the Poland of the Future. As part of this partnership, the Institute organized a series of educational workshops in 30 schools. The students, their parents and teachers were provided with the knowledge necessary to recognize and counter cyberbullying. The website has also been launched, with useful tutorials, reports, and ready-made lesson plans against hate.

There were far more applications to participate in the project than the number of available places: more than 1,000 schools applied to host the “Curb Hate” workshop at their location. This shows the scale of the phenomenon and the need for awareness-raising initiatives. The Institute organized a webinar for all schools that did not qualify for the onsite workshop. The partnership with the Institute will continue in 2023 as well.

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