Exploring innovative and creative forms of combating discrimination online

On the 13th and 14th of March, the ICUD project (Internet: Creatively Unveiling Discrimination) organised a webstreamed conference on the theme of “Digital Discrimination and Social Networks“.

The ICUD project seeks to raise awareness and explore innovative and creative forms of combating discrimination online, by paying attention to hidden manifestations of discrimination. It is responding to an urgent need, as so far there have not been enough research and projects about the phenomenon at EU level.


The conference gathered academics, researchers, activists, youth workers, Internet and social networks experts, members of NGOs, knowledge providers and anyone interested in the issues surrounding discrimination on the Internet and especially social network sites. Several academics presented their latest findings in the field of online discrimination on social networks, alongside actors directly engaging in the prevention of discrimination at national level through awareness raising campaigns and activities with young people.

During the conference our colleague Martin Schmalzried had the opportunity to present the cornerstones of our #DeleteCyberbullying project:

1. EU wide conference on cyberbullying in Madrid
2. Virtual online demonstration ‘The Big March’
3. Awareness raising tools to reach teenagers, parents and teachers via an animated video and an Android app.

To get more information about the ICUD conference: http://digitaldiscrimination.eu/conference/

When children go mobile report

11 newsfeb-childrengomobileThe use of tablets and smartphones to access the internet is rising steadily among teenagers all over Europe.

A new study has confirmed this trend.

With a greater access to the internet, children have much greater opportunities to learn and develop their digital skills as well as other skills via e-learning, participation via social media and other communication channels, creativity and innovation by creating content such as videos, pictures, or even apps!

At the same time, there are lots of risks associated with this increase in use of mobile devices. Among the most common risks identified in the report we find:

- Exposure to negative user generated content, 31% of 11 to 16 year-olds (such as posts, comments, pictures or videos on social networks such as facebook or online sharing platforms such as youtube);

- Communicating online with someone the child has not met face to face before, 30% of 11 to 16 year-olds;

- Seeing sexual images off- and online, 29% of 11 to 16 year-olds;

- 27% of children aged 9-16 report being bullied on- or offline. The number of children who reported any form of cyberbullying on the internet or through mobile phones is 14%.

For parents, this poses digital parenting challenges such as learning to get familiar with new operating systems (such as iOS, Android and Windows Phone), new features (NFC, GPS), along with understanding the implications of being constantly connected with the ability to share and access content world wide 24/7.

Industry also has a role to play, making sure that parents have access to the right tools and features to support their children (some mobile operating systems still have poor parental control tool integration) but also designing their products to be more “child friendly”.

Other crosscutting issues raised with these developments are:

- Ensuring that children and teenagers have a balanced lifestyle with enough time devoted to sports, studying, social relationships;

- Exposure of children and teenagers to more advertising or commercial messages in general, detrimental to the development of their critical thinking skills and shaping their “consumer habits” early.

We have been following these developments closely and will continue to represent the interests of families in the digital world.

Have your voice heard: join us in The Big March!

#DeleteCyberbullying tent

It is now almost a daily occurrence that we hear about a tragedy or a particularly cruel case of cyberbullying in the media across the European Union. As children and young people spend more and more time online in our hyper connected world, the shadow side of the internet is also known to more and more of us.

Cyberbullying is not only researched, but many organisations are doing excellent work in educating young people and parents, and offering a safe place to seek help and guidance. We believe however, that more needs to be done to tackle the global phenomena of cyberbullying. Governments and the European Institutions also bare responsibility in ensuring that the proper legislative framework is there to prevent cyberbullying, and that sufficient resources are allocated to organisations to support victims of cyberbullying through early detection and early intervention.

What better day to call on citizens to join our effort in asking the EU and Members States for more effective legislation, than the UN’s World Day of Social Justice, as Member States themselves have signed up and pledged their commitments to fighting inequalities, and helping the most vulnerable. Perhaps the fight against bullying could also deserve its own European Day.

As an integral part of the #Deletecyberbullying project led by COFACE, we are inviting you today to visit the Big March Park, read more about the issue, pledge your support, and ultimately join us in our virtual, on-line demonstration on the 11th June.

It is very easy to take part in our peaceful online demonstration: participants are invited to register on bigmarch.beatbullying.org and create a personalised avatar of themselves, and eventually join masses of other citizens across the EU in marching across some of the most well known websites on the 11th June.

Please also come and visit the #DeleteCyberbullying tent in the Big March Park, where you can see what our project is about, the short animated video in 9 languages, our infographics and the testimonies of young people.

We are calling for the right of children to be protected online! Create your avatar and join the #BigMarch here: bigmarch.beatbullying.org

To keep up-to date on the fight against cyberbullying, follow #deletecyberbullying on @dcyberbullying.


Let’s create a better internet together!


Happy Safer Internet Day 2014! #SID2014

This year’s Safer Internet Day theme looks at the responsibility that we must all take in making the internet a better place. Whether we are children and young people, parents and carers, educators or social care workers, or indeed industry, decision makers or politicians, we all have a role to play.

We can contribute to foster the positive and eliminate the negative online in many ways, regardless of who we are. For example:

Children and young people can help to foster the positive by being kind and respectful to others online, by protecting their online reputations, and by seeking out positive opportunities to create, engage and share online. They can help to eliminate the negative by being ‘helpful bystanders’: supporting peers if they encounter issues online, taking a stand against cyberbullying, and reporting any inappropriate or illegal content they find.

In this regard, COFACE is currently coordinating the European Awareness Raising Campaign on Cyberbullying: #DeleteCyberbullying. The project, through the cooperation of the international partners, contributes to developing a common approach to risk-prevention, information and guidelines to families, parents, children and other relevant stakeholders. We have created a short educational video Cyberbullying: there is a way out! available now in 9 languages.

Parents and carers can help to foster the positive by maintaining an open and honest dialogue with their children about their online lives, by supporting them with their personal development online and helping them to deal with any concerns or issues, seeking out positive opportunities to share with their children online, and helping their children to find and use good quality digital resources. They can help to eliminate the negative by monitoring and supporting their child’s online activity, by modelling positive online behaviours themselves, and by also reporting any inappropriate or illegal content they find.

Educators and social care workers can help to foster the positive by equipping children and young people with the digital literacy skills they require for today’s world, and giving them opportunities to use and create positive content online. They can help to eliminate the negative by supporting youngsters if they encounter problems online, and by giving them the confidence and skills to seek help from others.

Industry can help to foster the positive by creating and promoting positive content and services online, developing ethical and transparent policies, and protecting our data. They can help to eliminate the negative by making systems and services more secure by design, by being more responsive to user concerns, and by providing quick and easy access to support if things do go wrong.

Decision makers and politicians can help to foster the positive by ensuring that there are opportunities in the curriculum for children to learn and teachers to teach about online safety, ensuring that parents and carers have access to appropriate information and sources of support, and that industry are encouraged to self regulate their content and services. They must also take the lead in governance and legislation, and ultimately ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people through effective child protection strategies for the online world.

About SID
Safer Internet Day is organised by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission each 11 February to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile devices, especially among children and young people. On Safer Internet Day hundreds of events are organised to raise awareness of online safety issues.

Find out more about Safer Internet Day at www.saferinternetday.org   #SID2014

COFACE’s profile on the SID website: www.saferinternetday.org/web/coface

Can I Tell You Something?

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.

Download ‘Can I Tell You Something?’ report

Cyberbullying: there is a way out!

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

Thank YOU!

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For more information please contact:
Ana Pérez, Communication Officer  Tel: +32 2 500 56 93  Email: aperez@coface-eu.org

The Big March Survey


We would like to find out more about the bullying that happens all around Europe. Your answers will help to make The Big March 2014 a success. Please share this survey with your friends and family – the more people take part, the better we can understand the nature of bullying in your country.

This is the URL which links to the survey in English, German, French and Spanish: http://archive.beatbullying.org/BigMarchSurvey.html

We will pull off preliminary data in the next few weeks to develop news stories about the extent of bullying in different parts of Europe.

Thank you very much!

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