Cyberbullying is a constantly growing phenomenon in our country that affects more and more young people.
A recent study by the "Commission for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs" in the European Parliament ("LIBE Committee") published in July 2016 (Cyberbulling among Young People, Study for the Libe Committee) makes a careful analysis of the forms of cyberbullying and the extension of the phenomenon to then analyze the measures adopted by the European Union and the Member States, then giving guidelines and measures to be adopted to combat and prevent the phenomenon.
The Commission's study starts with research on young people under eighteen years old in some Member States including Italy, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Holland, Poland, Romania, Switzerland and Great Britain).
the first problem is represented by the definition of Cyberbullying. In fact, there is no commonly accepted definition.
For the European Commission it is repetition of verbal or psychological harassment by an individual or a group against others through the use of online services and mobile phones .
The elements that characterize cyberbullying are the use of electronic or digital means, the intention to cause harm, the "sense of anonymity" and the lack of awareness of responsibility, publicity of actions.
from a recent survey of the EU Net Children Go Mobile Report, carried out on children between 9 and 16 years, the result that as many as 12% of children have been subjected to cyberbullying.
Several studies state that often the boys who have been bullied become in turn "bullies".
At present, there are no international standards expressly dedicated to cyberbullying. However, Article 19 of the "UN Convention on the Rights of the Child" (UNCRC) should be remembered, which requires States to take all appropriate measures to protect children from physical and mental violence. Then there is a United Nations resolution calling on states to take measures to prevent and combat all forms of bullying to protect children.
Also at the international level, the Council of Europe has adopted some measures on cyberbullying and in the context of the Strategy on the rights of the child for the period 2016-2021, cyberbullying appears among the five essential points on which the member states must focus their action .
In the context of EU legislation, there are some Directives which, while not expressly referring to cyberbullying, are applicable.
1) 2012 / 29 / EU Directive "Establishing minimum standards on the rights, assistance and protection of victims of crime and replacing the 2001 / 220 / JHA Framework Decision";
2) 2011 / 93 / EU Directive on "Combating the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and child pornography, and replacing the Council's 2004 / 68 / JHA Framework Decision".
The Resolution adopted by the European Parliament on November 28, 2014 on the occasion of the XNUMXth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which also provides for the fight against cyberbullying, should be recalled.
The European Union Agenda for the Rights of the Child provides for the protection of children against any violence committed online and that the European Commission adopted in 2012 a specific program for the protection of children online, "Strategy for a Better Internet for Kids "(BIK).
From the research it emerged that on a national level no European State has yet adopted specific regulations that are frequently included in computer crimes or violence in general.
The study reads the best practices to combat the phenomenon such as the organization of programs that aim to prevent such phenomena by explaining to children the risks that the use of the Internet can entail, encouraging victims to report and helping bullies to understand the effects of their conduct, training activities that also involve teachers and parents. The evaluation of the Estonian website “Bullying-free School” was particularly positive, providing support and advice to teachers, parents and children.
According to the research, the European Union should intervene by providing a common definition of cyberbullying, distinguishing it from traditional forms of bullying and providing for specific actions by promoting the sharing of best practices, making a serious intervention regarding the aspects related to the processing of personal data and strengthening the necessary collaboration with private telecommunications and social media operators.
Also from this study it emerges that in order to effectively combat the phenomenon of cyberbullying, targeted educational interventions must be carried out in schools, involving social media and stressing their responsibility '.
To make effective prevention it is then necessary to use the same language as the children and the same means in communications using websites, pages on social networks, campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Google+.
Armando Cecatiello, Lawyer Milan and Rome.
Law Firm Cecatiello, specialized in family law, matrimonial lawyer, divorce lawyer, minor maintenance / custody.