1.4 Our Project: Joining Forces to Combat Cyberbullying in Schools

The challenges and issues raised by new forms of bullying in schools are of concern to Starkmacher and its partners. Together, as a consortium, we came up with a project called “Joining Forces to Combat Cyberbullying in Schools”, with the main goal of creating “cyberbulling free schools”: the project was carried out by 8 NGOs from 5 EU Member States (DE, IT, PL, SI, HU) which closely cooperated with local partner schools. The implementation started by offering trainings to NGO staff from partner organisations in Conflict Resolution, Training of Trainers as well as new Social Media Management. The second strand was capacity building in schools, which was executed by the trained multipliers from a partner organisation. This included information and awareness raising activities with teachers/educators, school management, and parents in order to raise their awareness about the issue of cyberbullying and to increase new media know-how and critical awareness. It also intended to conduct local trainings on conflict resolution and social media competence with pupils and teachers, establishing so mediation clubs in each partner schools that shall provide trainings as well as peer mediation.

The second year was characterised by an individual empowerment of youth through creative social media. Organising Int’l Media Camps and local Creativity Groups helped in familiarising youngsters with respectful and safe media usage, but also unlocking hidden potentials, helping to promote a mentality of non-violence and respect in partner schools. After the 1st int’l workshop, the partner started local creativity contests for youngsters in order to produce new artworks. The winners have been then invited to the second int’l workshop. The final stage focused on awareness raising through a youth-led social media campaign helping to spread “anti-cyber violence messages to a widest possible public audience and especially younger people. The official launch of the campaign was on 20th November 2016, which marks the Universal Children’s Day.

In the following chapter, we are going to talk about Cyberbullying and which ways of intervention and prevention are known.

Our holistic approach will be described by Matej Cepin talking about our goal of changing school cultures towards bullying-free zones, through addressing the challenge of cyberbullying from many different angles, through the combination of different action. We believe our approach is Holistic (promotion / prevention / intervention, determinants of health), Community oriented (teachers, pupils, parents) and able to develop competencies through an active participation of stakeholders. Our actions and supportive actions (training of multipliers, creativity campuses, social media campaign) will be extensively described in the different paragraphs.

Finally, we will provide the readers with useful guidelines on how to implement the project in different schools and environments.

Let yourself embark on this journey! Look around and get involved with us for young people who need your encouragement!