Participatory policy-making as a mechanism to increase the effectiveness of school policies against cyberbullying

20 dec 2013 /

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAConsidering the seriousness of cyberbullying and the negative impact it can have not only on its victims but also on the class and school community as a whole, it is important that specific strategies are developed and implemented in order to effectively deal with this specific form of aggression. It is also important to take into consideration that cyberbullying as well as other types of online risks can impact different children in different ways depending on the mechanisms they have at their disposal (e.g. consistent and effective school policies), the (personal) strategies employed to tackle the risks (e.g. more or less effective coping strategies), and the support they may (or may not) get from friends, siblings, parents, teachers or other trusted persons in their environment. Not all children are equipped with the necessary tools or have the social or family support needed to deal with cyberbullying on their own. This is why it is so important that schools are well-prepared to deal with these serious incidents so that they can help involved children (bullies, victims and bystanders) cope with cyberbullying in an effective and constructive way.

In this report we refer to existing policies against cyberbullying around the world as well as in Flanders, we discuss their relevance and effectiveness and based on current research we extract best practices which are used to elaborate guidelines for the development of meaningful and effective school policies against cyberbullying. We believe that in order to be able to have a real impact school policies must take into consideration the individuality of each school ecosystem. This implies that school policies should be built and should evolve according to the specific needs of each school community. This can be achieved by providing schools with the necessary guidance to create, effectively implement and continuously improve their own school anti-cyberbullying policy. The final aim of this deliverable is to provide guidelines for both schools (micro level) and policy-makers (macro level) so that by means of a more participatory, user-centric approach to policy-making they will be able to build strong, coherent and effective policies to deal with cyberbullying at school.

You can download the report here.

Image: Bully Free Zone (author: Eddi~S) via Wikimedia Commons