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Delete Cyberbullying – Peer Mentors

The following blog post is written by our correspondent and intern, Helena Sofía í Byrgi as a short draft of what she observed while participating at the conference.

Madrid 3

DeleteCyberbullying is a EU project, working to get digital bullying acknowledged as a real threat, which does harm. The project focuses on school and family, and works to create a common ground for how to prevent digital bullying. The project works with participants from Spain, Britain, Bulgaria, Belgium and Greece.

Center for Digital Youth Care has been following the initiative, and attended the conference DeleteCyberbullying, held in Madrid in 2013. Unfortunately, as we’re experiencing at a number of international conferences, there was again too much focus on how to monitor children and young people, rather than how to talk ethics and morals with them. Though there was one presentation, which we would like to highlight: Beat Bullying, which is working inclusively with young people.

Beat Bullying

At the conference, Beat Bullying presented their ideas on how to work with digital bullying. Beat bullying is a project that trains young people aged 11-25 to be peer mentors for other young people. By taking the responsibility of being a peer mentor, the young people get training, guidance and support in terms of helping others of the same age. After training the young people operate as councilors for other children who have been or are at risk of being bullied, both on and offline. Beat bullying works directly at various schools in the UK.

Beat Bullying has successful experience in actively involving children and young people in the battle as peer mentors. We welcome this type of mindset in Center for Digital Youth Care, and it is similar to the projects, activities and attitudes that we work with. Our own practical experience shows that young people are increasingly seeking support and advice from each other.

Peer Mentors, the way to go

At the conference, there were four young people from peer mentoring program who presented the major problems they had experienced with online bullying. They felt that although the studies of youth counseling from the EU show that only every forth child reports that they are exposed to cyber bullying, the problem is much bigger. The young people also experienced that many are afraid of reporting it, or don’t know where to turn when having problems online. Further more they had also experienced that the “tag” function on Facebook makes it easier to bully with pictures online. It is the young people’s hope that each country will demand its government to be more active in the battle against bullying.

For more information and video of the entire conference, follow this link: deletecyberbullying.eu

 

 

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