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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 Commitee") published in July 2016 (Cyberbulling among Young People, Study for the Libe Committee) makes a careful analysis of the forms of cyber-bullying and of 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. Indeed, there is no commonly accepted definition.

For the European Commission it is about 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 damage, the "sense of anonymity" and the lack of awareness on responsibilities, the publicity of actions.

from a recent survey of the EU Net Children Go Mobile Report, performed on the boys between the 9 and the 16 years, result that well the 12% of the boys have been the subject of cyberbullying.

Several studies state that often the boys who have been bullied become in turn "bullies".
At the moment there are no international standards expressly dedicated to cyberbullying. But we need to remember the 19 article of the UNCRC, which requires states to take all appropriate measures to protect children from physical and mental violence. Then there is a UN 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 measures on cyberbullying and within the framework of the Strategy on the Rights of the Child for the 2016-2021 period cyberbullying appears among the five essential points on which the Member States must focus their action .

In the field instead of the Union legislation, there are some Directives which, although 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 twenty-fifth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which also includes the fight against cyberbullying, must be recalled.

The European Union's Agenda on the Rights of the Child provides for the protection of children against all violence committed online and that the European Commission has adopted a specific program for the protection of children online in 2012, "Strategy for a Better Internet for Kids "(BIK).

The research found that at a national level, no European state has yet adopted specific legislation that is frequently included in computer crimes or violence in general.

In the study we read 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 the bullies to understand the effects of their conduct, training activities that also involve teachers and parents. The opinion on the Estonian "Bullying-free School" website, which provides support and advice to teachers, parents and young people, was particularly positive.

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, promoting the sharing of best practices, making a serious intervention on 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 how to effectively combat the phenomenon of cyberbullying, educational interventions must be carried out in schools, involving social media and stressing its responsibility ".

To make an effective prevention, it is then necessary to use the same language of the students and the same media in communications using websites, social media pages, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ campaigns.


Armando Cecatiello, Lawyer Milan and Rome.

Law Firm Cecatiello, specialized in family law, matrimonial lawyer, divorce lawyer, minor maintenance / custody.