Bullying is not a new problem, but its reach has extended through new technologies. Bullying previously did not go far beyond the school gates. Social media and communication applications however can permanently expose children to this kind of harm.
The problem also lies in a change in behaviour of a new generation that has grown up with social media (the so-called digital natives). Children often have a better knowledge of technology and applications than their parents and can have a different awareness of what is legal or socially acceptable.
The role of education, parents, teachers, social workers, but also police and security staff cannot be underestimated. Internet and social media literacy has become a completely new and a constantly developing field of awareness. At the same time questions are raised from cyberbullying, such as if teachers have the right to intervene in what is considered to be children’s private lives.
Cyberbullying has an impact on all European member states. Different projects have been launched to measure the extent of the phenomenon. The next step could be to create a common platform on the European level, which brings in the different European institutions to the debate and could be fed by the experiences of practitioners – such as teachers, justice officers and other public service representatives.