HELMeTO 2022

4th International Conference on Higher Education Learning Methodologies and Technologies Online

September 21-23, 2022
Palermo, Italy

Educational Approaches and Innovative Applications to Counteract Social Media Threats

Aim and Scope

Social media have become an established medium in our everyday life, for many reasons, ranging from maintaining contact with people in different places to acquiring information on specific topics. They have also become a place to look for entertainment and represent an environment in which non-formal and informal learning can occur. Besides many benefits there are also a number of threats associated with the use of social media. They have been branded as places in which dangerous phenomena proliferate, as they are ubiquitously and always available and reach a wide audience. Specifically, discrimination and biases as well as hate speech, bullying, fake news, and other toxic content found a fertile ground in social media. These problems can also be exacerbated by the underlying algorithms potentially trapping users into digital addiction. Also, the way some algorithms work fosters polarizations and bias on the user perspective. What are the solutions to this? There is a tradeoff between free speech on the one hand and censorship and full control on the other. Given full control is neither desirable nor possible in this rapidly changing environment, the role of education has become central. Educational experiences play a key role in raising awareness of potential threats in social media and improving young people’s strategies to navigate safely and empower them to address these threats which are not limited to the virtual world but also affect the real world. The aim of this special track is to collect studies on educational strategies and innovative software applications to stimulate a wider and more balanced perspective of social media dynamics and address today’s critical issues about toxic content.

Contributions will explore:
– the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to counteract the negative effects of social media, in order to orchestrate educational environments that increases users’ awareness vis-a-vis such phenomena;
– the role of social games fostering a counter-narrative which directly challenges biased content and discrimination, highlights questionable messages and attitudes, challenges their assumptions, uncovers limits and fallacies, and dismantles associated conspiracy and pseudo-science theories;
– the use of virtual environments to support learners in facing the issues of toxic phenomena on social media in an active and educationally meaningful way;
– the potential of algorithms in detecting different forms of hate speech, biased content and toxic behaviors on social media also balancing it with opposite perspectives;
– studies on social forms of reinforcement, polarization and acceptance of toxic statements and ideologies that leverage on the echo-chambers caused by the filter bubbles due to the social media personalization algorithms.

Potential Scopes of Interest

  • Artificial Intelligence techniques applied to social media
  •  Machine Learning for toxic content detection
  • Recommender systems to balance social media effects
  • Analysis of social network interactions and dynamics
  • Gamification strategies to counteract threats of social media
  • Cognitive, social and psychological approaches
  • Approaches to counteract social media threats
  • Intelligent Tutor System to enable adaptive and personalized learning activities
  • Collective well-being and social media


Sabrina Eimler, University of Applied Sciences Ruhr West, Germany
Udo Kruschwitz, University of Regensburg, Germany
Dimitri Ognibene, Università Milano Bicocca, Italy
Ulrich Hoppe, Rhein-Ruhr Institute (RIAS), Germany
Davinia Hernández-Leo, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain

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