The International Day against Violence and Bullying at School including Cyberbullying tackles one of the major issues that affects children and young people nowadays – school and online bullying. It is a widespread phenomenon affecting a significant number of children and adolescents across the world.
This year’s theme is “Tackling cyberbullying and other forms of online violence involving children and young people”. As countries are still at different stages in the process of responding to the COVID-19 health emergency, evidence has suggested that the lives and education of children and youth have increasingly moved online on a global scale. This has led to an increase in children’s screen time, for example, and while accessing the online world presents countless learning and networking opportunities, it is also increasingly putting children and young people at risk of online violence.
Although online violence is not exclusively linked to school and education, the education system has nonetheless a central role to play in addressing online safety issues, promoting digital citizenship and a more conscious use of technologies. As Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director General, has stated,
Although this violence is not limited to school premises, the education system has an important role to play in teaching students how to navigate safely in the digital sphere. Formal education should provide children and young people with certain knowledge and skills: how to behave with civility online, to develop coping mechanisms, to identify and report online violence and, most importantly, to protect themselves and others from different forms of cyberbullying, whether perpetrated by peers or adults.
The animation below illustrates the stories of three young victims of bullying across the world, and sheds light on the negative consequences of bullying on educational outcomes, mental health and well-being.
Here on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal, issues related to school bullying and cyberbullying are among our primary concerns. Indeed, as a consequence of the ongoing pandemic and prolonged lockdown measures, the internet has now become the main way of socialising and keeping in touch with peers for children and young people, increasing their chances of being exposed to online risks and harmful content.
The Insafe network of European Safer Internet Centres (SICs) has developed many pedagogical resources on the topic, in a variety of European languages and for different audiences. Whether you are a parent, a carer, a teacher or an educator, you will find some pertinent resources on school bullying and cyberbullying below:
- Cyber Jolly by the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre is an animated series providing advice on issues such as online bullying, excessive screen time, digital fingerprints and account hacking. Available in Bulgarian.
- On the topic of digital well-being, the online show “Well-being and the internet” by the Slovenian Safer Internet Centre aims to raise awareness on the importance of protecting mental health online. Available in Slovenian.
- Additionally, the Luxembourgish Safer Internet Centre has developed a cyberbullying kit dedicated to individuals with intellectual disabilities aged 12 and older, to further raise awareness on this topic. Available in German.
Find additional useful material in the resource repository of the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal.
Learn more about the International Day against Violence and Bullying at School including Cyberbullying on the UNESCO website, and discover more about the efforts carried out by UNESCO to prevent and respond to school violence, bullying and cyberbullying.