App Promotion A5

New Smartphone app should make it easier to tackle cyberbullying

PRESS RELEASE

11 June 2014, Brussels – One and a half years after the launch of the #DeleteCyberbullying project, COFACE, the Confederation of Family Organisations in the EU organised the final event of the project in close cooperation with the Northern Ireland Executive Office in Brussels. It was the opportunity to take stock of the milestones and achievements of the campaign and look at the future challenges.

The European Commission funded the #DeleteCyberbullying project under its Daphne programme, which aimed at raising awareness around Europe on the phenomenon of cyberbullying. The work achieved by the project is the successful cooperation of eight organisations from seven different countries, Belgium, Hungary, Spain, the UK, Bulgaria, Greece and Finland. The partners brought different perspectives and experience to the project, but all agreed, that effective prevention and early detection of cyberbullying is key, and can be best achieved by informing parents, teachers and teens about the different forms it can take, and how to react.

The project was a very ambitious undertaking, and among others delivered a successful European conference in Madrid in May 2013, a very popular short educational animation (with thousands of views on YouTube deletecyberbullying.eu/multimedia), as well as an Android app.

The app aims at answering questions teens, parents and teachers may have about this phenomenon through an interactive quiz, to test knowledge, but also through a self-diagnosis tool, which directs victims or worried parents to the designated help phone-lines and chat-lines, where they can contact directly the professionals for specific advice in their own country and their own language. The app can be downloaded here.

Cyberbullying is a highly mediatised phenomena, which in the most dramatic cases can contribute to teen suicide, and as such is usually associated with it. It can have however very different effects on young people, as well as adults, and even though less dramatic in outcome, can greatly reduce quality of life for many. These nasty or taunting messages, fake profiles, horrible comments pursue the victims 24/7, and can cause loss of self-confidence, school avoidance, drop of academic results, isolation, social exclusion, and even depression or other mental health problems. Often the victims are too ashamed to speak out, and internalise the problem, which only makes it grow bigger.

Through the tools developed by the partnership, key messages are to speak up, and tell a trusted adult about cyberbullying. It is also important to save the evidence with screenshots, photos, e-mails, and if the cyberbullying hasn’t stopped, the police should be contacted.

The project also raises awareness about the issue and calls upon the expression of solidarity and civic courage through the virtual, online Big March being held today, on the 11th June.

/ENDS/

For further information, please contact:
Ana Pérez, Communication manager   aperez@coface-eu.org   +322 500 56 93

Note to the editor
COFACE is a network of civil society associations representing the interests of all families. COFACE’s areas of work include social/family policy, education, disability, gender equality, migration, consumer issues, and also protection of children online, privacy, data protection and reflections on technological developments and how they may impact families. More: www.coface-eu.org