The European Parliament has commissioned the law and policy consultancy Milieu Ltd to deliver the ‘Research Paper on cyberbullying among young people’. The aim of this paper is to provide information on the scale/nature of cyberbullying among young people in the EU and on Member States’ legislation and policies aimed at preventing and tackling this phenomenon as well as on good practices in this area.
In the framework of this research, Milieu Ltd has contacted us to help them spread the word and disseminate the EU Survey on ‘Cyberbullying among young people’. The purpose of the survey is to collect the views of young people (between 12 and 21 years old) of cyberbullying and to test the good practices and recommendations identified through research at national level.
If you have between 12 and 21 years old, we invite you to fill in the survey (available in 10 languages):
Greek : http://goo.gl/forms/7heEEFYzhD
Thanks a lot for your cooperation!
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.
Today, children connect to the internet with mobile devices at an ever earlier age. Fast evolution in the field of ICT creates new challenges and opportunities.
While some years ago parents could still monitor their children’s use of the internet on the home computer, access to the internet has become ever more mobile. Children have, at their fingertips, access to an unprecedented wealth of information and a way to interact with the whole world. At the same time, a certain set of skills are needed to make the most out of the internet. Challenges such as cyberbullying, exposure to inappropriate or harmful content, exposure to advertising and excessive use/time spent on the internet are real and can have enduring negative effects on the development of children.
What can we do?
In essence, keeping children safe online is the responsibility of all actors. Parents, teachers, service providers, hardware manufacturers, policy makers…
At the same time, parents are the primary educators of children and in the case of young children, parents are virtually the sole reference for establishing healthy habits and adhering to core values such as respect, be it online or offline.
Children need to learn as early as possible about their rights and responsibilities and parents are among the first to initiate this learning process.
Knowledge these two dimensions can help children put into better perspective and react better to issues such as cyberbullying, by knowing what rights they have should they be a victim and by keeping in mind the consequences should they be a perpetrator.
But all parents are not IT-savy and do not feel comfortable or capable to discuss and exchange about the online world with their children. To that end, COFACE has set up a resources page on its website to help reference and share good practices and resources that can help parents in their essential parenting role.
For more information, please have a look at our resources page.
SAFER INTERNET DAY | 10 February 2015
Safer Internet Day (SID) is organised by Insafe in February of each year to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people across the world. Safer Internet Day 2015 will be celebrated tomorrow, with the strapline of “Let’s create a better internet together” following the success of last year’s campaign.
We can all contribute to foster positive and eliminate negative content and behavior online in many ways, regardless of who we are.The Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union (COFACE), and the partners of the #DeleteCyberbullying, project, funded by the European Programme Daphne III, aim at raising awareness about the issue of cyberbullying and what can be done to prevent and address it. To this end, a number of tools have been developed and are freely available online. An awareness raising video is available on YouTube in 12 different languages, a Teacher’s Manual and a free interactive app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store (*)
The #DeleteCyberbullying app aims at answering questions teens, parents and teachers may have about this phenomenon through an interactive quiz to test their knowledge. It also enables teenagers to take a self-diagnosis quiz, which redirects victims to the designated help phone-lines, where they can directly contact professionals for specific advice in their own country and language.
The app is available in Belgium, France, Netherlands, UK, Ireland, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Sweden, in the native languages of these countries.
Install the #DeleteCyberbullying App
(*) The app is currently available for Android and will be available soon for iOS.
The Big March 2014 / Over 100,000 Europeans are supporting our virtual protest against bullying and cyberbullying
To see the Big March live go to our website now (until 5.00 pm CET): www.coface-eu.org
More than half (55%) of children in Europe who have been bullied said they became depressed as a result, with over a third saying they harmed themselves (35%) or thought about suicide (38%), according to a new poll* conducted by BeatBullying and the #DeleteCyberbullying campaign.
The poll of more than 2,000 adults and children from across Europe found that worryingly, 34% of adults thought that bullying is regarded as a ‘normal part of growing up’, and one in six adults (16%) said it is regarded as ‘character building’ by most people in their country, raising concerns amongst campaigners that the pain caused by bullying still remains hidden to many European citizens.
To raise awareness of this issue and show their support for the millions of children affected, today, young people, parents, schools, and other organisations are joining The Big March 2014 to deliver a virtual petition to the European Commission, calling for new laws and much-needed funding to protect children from bullying and cyberbullying.
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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…