With the increase in social media usage among K-12 students over the past decade and the surge in online communication between students during the pandemic, there have been some negative impacts from all of the unfiltered digital communication. It’s much easier for bullies and internet trolls—those who intentionally upset and antagonize others online—to say hurtful and socially dissonant things behind the mask of anonymity social media and other online platforms provide. Out of this increase in online negativity and bullying has risen a group of people who identify themselves as “incels” and are considered a significant online threat to student safety.
What Are Incels?
A portmanteau for involuntary celibates, incels are a group of typically straight males who for varying reasons are unable to engage in romantic relationships with the opposite sex. This group has formed an online subculture where individuals connect over their shared grievance for a society which they believe has outcast them by making romantic life unattainable.
Why Are Incels a Threat?
Grievance-fueled violence occurs when an individual acts with violence in response to the perception that they have been wronged in some way, presenting a significant threat for schools and school communities. It’s important for safety and security professionals to recognize the potential threat of grievance-fueled violence by individuals who associate with the incel community and feel outcast by society.
Protecting Students Online
In order to protect students from encountering hate or inappropriate content created by incels online, a digital safety platform can be a beneficial tool for schools and districts. Gaggle Safety Management uses machine learning technology to analyze content in students’ school-issued accounts, blocking potentially harmful content and sending it to Gaggle’s expert team of safety professionals for review and evaluation. Gaggle ensures a rapid response to potentially severe situations or threats 24/7/365, protecting students and school communities from potentially violent situations or self-harm. In the most imminent cases, Gaggle will even contact law enforcement directly to intervene in order to protect students and save lives.
To learn more about this group and the threat they present to student safety, check out our Student Wellness Series: Incels webinar.