On the 22nd and 23rd of September, German and Polish Safer Internet Centers jointly held another edition of their major Safer Internet Conference in Warsaw, Poland. The conference revolved around several key topics such as privacy, sexuality, risky content, data ethics, cyberbullying and inappropriate online behaviours. Many key issues were touched upon such as:
-The growing use and exploitation of private data as a business model and the dawn of private data as a currency to pay for online content.
-The impact of sexting and exposure to sexually explicit content on children’s and young people’s sexuality, which borders on cyberbullying as well.
-How to secure your right to privacy online and some concrete tips to keep your data safe from unethical uses.
COFACE, represented by Martin Schmalzried, sat on a panel discussion dedicated to challenges and visions concerning child safety online in the present and in the future. The three main points addressed by COFACE were related to cyberbullying.
How to reach out to parents that are unaware of cyberbullying?
Some parents will always be left out and feel helpless when it comes to dealing with cyberbullying. Just like other topics such as sexuality, not all parents feel ready to discuss certain topics for a variety of reasons. Schools and teachers remain the best way to ensure a common knowledge and awareness about issues such as cyberbullying. That was why a universal schooling system was set up in the first place: to level the playing field and give each child the same chances in life through education. However, this is no reason to give up on parents and we should always try to reach out to them to make them feel more concerned and involved about issues such as cyberbullying. Examples include:
-Organising parents evenings in schools or through organisations such as family associations.
-Presenting them with easy tools and steps to protect their children online.
-Information campaigns via magazines and newsletters from family associations or the provision of easy tools and multimedia resources such as those delivered by the #DeleteCyberbullying project.
How do you explain the difference in awareness about cyberbullying between EU countries?
It all has to do with cultural differences and the environment. For instance, in some countries such as the Scandinavian countries, topics like sexuality, violence or gender roles are openly discussed by the wider public, while in other countries such as the southern Member States, these topics are much less “taboo”. Such cultural differences, among many other factors, may explain the differences in attitudes towards an issue like cyberbullying. For instance, in COFACE’s awareness raising video about cyberbullying, we have received many comments implying that cyberbullying is not such a tragic issue, after all, it’s “just” a few online words that you can easily ignore, especially if “you are a man”.
Parents often don’t come to parent evenings at school. How can they be more inclined to come?
There are many strategies for securing parents’ participation but we would like to put the focus on work-life balance. Parents and teachers are living busy lives. With both parents working, there is little time left for parenting, personal activities, social activities and household responsibilities. Securing a better work-life balance would enable parents to have more time to attend parent evenings and get more involved in their parenting, including digital parenting. COFACE has carried out a full campaign last year on work-life balance.
On the 11th and 12th of March, European Schoolnet organized the launch of the ENABLE project in Athens and brought together more than 50 policy makers, teachers, academics and health professionals from around the globe, the aim being to introduce the project, provide a forum of discussion for the Think Tank members and create solidarity as the project continues.
ENABLE (European Network Against Bullying in Learning and Leisure Environments) is an EU-funded that aims to tackle bullying in a holistic way, helping young people exercise their fundamental rights in the home, school, class and community.
The two-year project is built around three axes:
1. Fostering socio-emotional development of young people, by increasing their empathy and self-esteem through social and emotional learning modules that can be integrated into the curriculum. Teachers and parents will be trained through online courses and in national and European communities of practice.
2. Enhancing young people’s self-awareness, and their ability to objectively reflect on their behaviour and how their actions impact on others using self-monitoring techniques, such as daily logs and peer reviewing of their own photo/video productions.
3. Providing better routes to help for young people through a training module for professionals working with children/young people, policy-making support for schools in dealing with issues that often occur or are initiated outside the school context, and innovative digital tools to reduce the impact of bullying incidents. Training and peer support for parents will ensure a 360 degree approach.
COFACE, as a Think Tank member of the ENABLE project, was present at the public launch and will bring in its experience from the #DeleteCyberbullying project to contribute to the project’s success.
For more information about the project and how you can get involved, visit the ENABLE website
Are you a worried parent, fearing your child may be cyberbullyied or cyberbullying someone?
Or a teacher who wants to explore the topic of cyberbullying in class?
Are you a teenager who has received some nasty text messages or witnessed cyberbullying?
Download our free, interactive app, that contains:
– An interactive quiz for teenagers, parents and teachers that displays customized feedback based on the responses to the quiz and redirects the user to the most relevant information sources, material or help in case a user has experienced cyberbullying.
– A quiz to test your knowledge about cyberbullying and the internet in general, with the possibility to share your score on Facebook and get more information about cyberbullying.
– A “one touch” button for help in case the user is in need of direct assistance.
– An awareness raising video embedded in the app (english) or on Youtube (multiple languages available).
– A survey for teachers to help better understand their experience and expectations regarding cyberbullying.
– A section with more information about the project and the app.
Read more: goo.gl/9dLqhL
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children called in a Childline survey for the voices of vulnerable children to be heard to tackle new emerging problems.
ChildLine’s ‘Can I Tell You Something?’ report shows a new and worrying trend of teenagers contacting the service about issues such as self-harm, suicide and online bullying.
This report clearly shows the deep unhappiness of thousands of young people. The biggest single problem is depression and unhappiness affecting nearly 36,000 children. 4,500 children between the ages of 12 and 15 rang because they needed to talk about suicide, and that is an increase of 43 per cent over the previous year.
ChildLine reports 87 per cent increase in contacts regarding cyber-bullying, whilst bullying contacts overall increased by just 8 per cent. Young people tell ChildLine that the 24 hour nature of online bullying means there’s no escape and it can lead to very serious feelings of isolation, low self-esteem and in a few desperate cases, suicide.
This Report is a real wake-up call. ChildLine is one of the most important sources of information about vulnerable children in the UK and these regular snap shots will help us keep one step ahead and focused on the areas that are really concerning them right now.
Children have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, physically or mentally, they have a right to privacy; all this is enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. We all share a collective responsibility to guarantee that these rights are enforced and enable children and young people to play, learn, develop, and participate, both offline and online.
Check out our brand new video: ‘Cyberbullying: there is a way out!’
In Europe, statistics and figures show, that about one in four children experience cyberbullying at some point in their lives. The impact of cyberbullying on victims is well known; it affects their self-esteem, school performance and can even lead to suicidal thoughts and attempts. Cyberbullying also has an impact on the perpetrators, bystanders, parents and schools. Therefore this video is intended as a tool for all concerned:
• Parents: Teach your kids empathy and talk with them about their online activities.
• Teachers: Help kids understand the line between funny and cruel and develop an antibullying charter in your school.
• Kids: If you witness cyberbullying, report it and offer your support.
Funded by the European Union Daphne programme, as part of the #DeleteCyberbullying project, COFACE and its partners want to raise awareness about the issue of cyberbullying, what can be done to prevent and tackle it.
Our objective is that this short educational video is seen by as many people as possible, because only together can we achieve what we set out to do: Delete Cyberbullying.
Join us, take a stand against cyberbullying and speak out for our children’s right to be safe. Images speak louder than words. Show your commitment to #DeleteCyberbullying by sharing this video
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For more information please contact:
Ana Pérez, Communication Officer Tel: +32 2 500 56 93 Email: email@example.com
Cyberbullying is not about technology, but about the way technology is used. Just like a baseball bat’s main purpose is to engage in a sporting activity, if someone uses it to hit another person, it can cause serious damage.
Cyberbullying is not such a new phenomenon, since it is linked to bullying in general. There have always been bullies, who thrive on the mockery and humiliation of others and there always will be. What makes it so unique in its viciousness is that compared to school-yard bullying (or offline bullying) the target has no way to get a break or get away from it. Cyberbullying is open for business 24/7. Nasty text messages, ridiculing e-mails, fake websites or troll Facebook accounts enable the bully to pursue its victim after school hours. Especially since text messages and other form of messages can spread like wildfire.
To make it more specific, imagine an awkward teenager standing in front of his class, reciting a lesson which he/she may not have fully prepared for. A pretty humiliating experience in itself, one that I believe only a few of us have not experienced. Now imagine a classmate filming this on his/her Smartphone and promptly posting it on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and/or other social media sites teens are using these days.
This is why there is still a massive need for awareness and education, of parents, of teachers and of children themselves. Even if perhaps a large portion of cyberbullying starts out as casual joking and just having fun from the bully’s point of view, bullying is never ok, and children and young people need to understand its consequences…
By Keren Rubel, founder of CLICME
Being a parent in the Internet and Social Networks age is not an easy task. Seeing your child connected almost 24 hours a day to the Internet through his computer or mobile phone and not knowing or understanding what he is doing, it is definitely frustrating.
The challenge, as with any issue between parents and children, is to know how to guide your child in the digital environment by creating a meaningful dialogue with him. The result of this dialogue should be the creation of a “Navigation Policy” that aims to establish rules related to the use of Internet and the Social Networks without imposing anything.
Also, this creates the opportunity to discuss issues of high importance such as privacy on the networks, friendship in the digital environment, Internet opportunities, the meaning of written words and the risks in the digital era like cyberbullying.
But what is cyberbullying and what I should know as a parent about it?
1. “Cyberbullying is the use of electronic information and media such as email, social networks, blogs, instant messaging, text messaging, mobile phones, and defamatory websites to harass an individual or group through personal attacks or other means.” Source: Wikipedia.
2. When we talk about cyberbullying, we are talking about peer harassment. This is not a situation between an adult and a minor but between two minors.
3. There are different forms of cyberbullying. Through the computer or mobile device:
- Messages with insults to the victim’s mail, Skype, Messenger or on the chat of social networks.
- Offensive messages on his Facebook wall.
- Creation of Facebook groups against him.
- Creation of web sites against him.
- Offensive comments on blogs and websites.
- Offensive images via email and mobile phones
- Uploading offensive videos on the Network.
- Internet surveys insulting or reviling a minor
- Sending malicious code and viruses to the victim’s email
- Sending porn and junk mail.
- Impersonation. The aggressor assumes the identity of the victim online and commits criminal acts or denigrates the image of the victim.
4. Among the possible consequences of cyberbullying:
- School adjustment problems and social problems
- Low self-esteem
- Poor school performance
- Mood changes
- Feeling of loneliness
- Thoughts of suicide.
5. You can and should report instances of cyberbullying to the police.
6. If you suspect a cyberbullying case has happened, there are organizations that you can consult about it. Look for the national foundations and associations in the country where you live.
7. If you suspect your child has been a victim of cyberbullying, do not delete any message, mail, etc. Document everything.
If we go back to the beginning, we can say that in order to prevent possible cases of cyberbullying, we as parents have the responsibility first, to better know the Internet and the Social Networks environments and second, learn how to create a meaningful dialogue with our children so we can create with them a safe navigation policy.
We invite you to receive the full details about our on-line course “Cyberbullying for parents”. The course aims to provide practical knowledge and the necessary tools for parents in order to guide your children on how to make intelligent use of the Internet world in general and the social networks in particular. We will also discuss the way to detect if your child suffers from cyberbullying and in such a case what to do. More information please contact Keren Rubel : firstname.lastname@example.org +34 648 52 73 80.