Teens tackling online echo chambers to help communities cross the divide

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Teens tackling online echo chambers to help communities cross the divide

'Burst the Bubble' was formed last month to promote interfaith dialogue. We spoke to 16-year-olds Noa Levy and Jonathan Gibson about their experiences forming the group.

JLGB’s National Citizen Service group "Burst the Bubble" on a visit to BBC Young Reporters at BBC Broadcasting House
JLGB’s National Citizen Service group "Burst the Bubble" on a visit to BBC Young Reporters at BBC Broadcasting House

Online echo chambers and filter bubbles seem inevitable – but a group of teenagers is using social media to help communities cross the divide. 

16-year-olds Noa Levy, from JFS, and Jonathan Gibson, from Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, are part of “Burst the Bubble,” a collective of 11 teenagers  created last month to promote interfaith dialogue.

“With the rise of social media, we are getting echo chambers, seeing ubiquitous views being thrown at us the entire time, and people are not being challenged,” Gibson told JN.

The group formed on JLGB’s three-week National Citizen Service (NCS) programme, which brings together teenagers from different communities to work on social action projects together.

Ricky Kaplan, JLGB’s residential manager, said: “It has been fantastic to watch this group of multi-faith young people go on a journey together, starting from a point of not knowing each other and ending by working as a group to deliver projects that positively impact the wider community, and have the potential to continue to do so for years to come.”

But several teenagers joined the group after the programme, and members are hoping keep the project alive in the coming months.

Levy, who joined Burst the Bubble after NCS, revealed she was passionate about interfaith issues.

“I think it’s really important to have more mixed friendship groups and be more open to getting to know to other people because I think there’s a lot of Jewish people who are not really willing to go outside their bubble and meet people from different backgrounds,” she said.

Burst the Bubble organised two visits last month to a local synagogue and mosque last month, which were attended by about 70 teens.

They have also released three podcasts on issues relating to interfaith dialogue, including antisemitism and Islamophobia, and are hoping to record more episodes in the coming weeks.

The project received £500 in funding through a pitching competition run by JLGB, and the group are now looking to raise additional funding from charities. “We worked really hard to get the maximum amount and we’ve still got £250 left over, so that can carry us over for a few sessions at the recording studios,” Gibson said.

You can follow Burst the Bubble on Instagram on @burst_the_bubble_uk. 



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