Over a third of bullying, today takes place online, with the number rapidly increasing (UNESCO). As online learning and virtual classrooms are becoming the new norm, cyberbullying is a big issue for the youth.
The Polite Type is a font that has been taught to recognize and rewrite hate speech. In practice, the font automatically blurs hateful words or replaces them with more inclusive ones. TietoEVRY, the company behind this initiative, wants to promote online equality and raise discussion about ways to stop cyberbullying.
A simple solution for a complex problem
At launch, the beta version of The Polite Type covers nearly two-thousand words in English and can be freely downloaded and installed on any computer. The font has been created together with Finnish teenagers. As an open-source font, it can be further developed by any individual developer or organization. The creative partner behind the idea is TBWA\ Helsinki.
Global co-operation delivers an innovative solution
TBWA\Helsinki is part of TBWA\Worldwide that is globally recognized for its innovative and tech-centric approach, such as the hands-free handle to prevent the spread of infections.
“Because cyberbullying and microaggressions are hard to monitor, we wanted to help parents and professionals by creating a typeface that blurs and in some cases autocorrects offensive words and phrases as they are typed. Diversity is a multi-layered topic, but it can help us learn to be more understanding of each other. At its core, diversity is innovation,” says Doug Melville Chief Diversity Officer from TBWA\ Worldwide.
The project was carried out together with The Children & Youth Foundation in Finland and the digital studio Great Apes. The first to introduce The Polite Type as a resource for teachers and pupils is HEI Schools, a global network of early education centres based on the Finnish educational model. The designer behind the font design is Mika Melvas.