“I actually forgot what it felt like to be happy” were the very touching words of 17 year old Nathalie, a former victim of bullying and cyberbullying, who shared her very personal story with the participants of the European #DeleteCyberbullying conference.
The Europe-wide cyberbullying conference, organised by COFACE on 28th May, gathered over 80 participants in Madrid, all experts in the field from all over Europe.
As part of the #DeleteCyberbullying project, the conference took on ambitious goals to bring together a great variety of actors involved in the fight against cyberbullying, such as families, young people, NGOs, schools, law enforcement and the industry.
Over the course of the day, in different plenary and interactive sessions the participants shared their experience, learned from each other and showed great interest in cooperating further to address the challenges of cyberbullying together.
Peer mentoring emerged as one of the most successful approaches in preventing and addressing cyberbullying, notably by empowering young people to talk about their bad experiences, and to seek help from young people of the same age group.
The highlights of the day were the honest testimonies of the 4 teenagers who shared their personal stories and experiences with the conference participants, which really brought home the core of the issue.
A consensus emerged around the idea, that cyberbullying is not only about technology but also about behaviour. Strengthening young people’s empathy and their sense of responsibility are key in fostering a bullying free environment.
“To empower kids, their whole environment needs to be empowered!”
So many actors in different fields have already acknowledged the importance and urgency to act; yet without a coordinated approach we will not be able to make a real difference.
The next step of the #DeleteCyberbullying project, building on the successes of this conference, will be to launch in November 2013 a European awareness raising digital campaign “The Big March”.
As the conference has been web-streamed, all the videos, presentations and pictures will be available here.
Cyberbullying is not only about technology but about behaviour (pdf)
European Conference on Cyberbullying, 28 May, Madrid