The YEU team travelled to Trento, Italy at the end of November, to attend KID_ACTIONS’ first European Policy, Research, and Practitioners Forum. Between the 29th and 30th of November 2021, more than 70 participants from 10 different countries gathered onsite and online to attend the event that marked the mid-term of this project.
Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK) was our host and welcomed representatives from various areas, such as research and academia, NGOs, Education and Training, Public Administration, Police Authority and Industry and SMEs, to discuss the topic of cyberbullying and how to combat this phenomenon.
The event took off with a presentation by Dr Veronica Donoso, from European Schoolnet (EUN), on the existing research about cyberbullying, which was the starting point for the following panel, moderated by Sara Tonelli, the project’s scientific coordinator, joined on stage y researchers and academics who had the opportunity to share their own knowledge and research, as well as the experiences in their work regarding this important topic. The first day of the forum ended with a keynote speech by Alex Holmes, the CEO of the Diana Award, who stressed the importance of approaching cyberbullying as a global problem, highlighting the need for a coordinated multi-stakeholder approach to tackle this phenomenon.
On the second day of the forum, we had a Deep Dive Session into the KID_ACTIONS Digital Education Platform and Educational Toolkit, during which the participants had the opportunity to share their inputs on the design and development of the Digital Education Platform and Training and Educational package. The following session was the Stakeholder Roundtable, aimed at matching KID_ACTIONS outputs with stakeholders needs.
The Results of the Forum
The input from the experts present in this first European Policy, Research and Practitioners Forum will be incredibly important for the further development of the KID_ACTIONS Project and, specifically, for the KID_ACTIONS Digital Education Platform and Educational Toolkit. These are some of the most knowledgeable personalities in the field as well as educators that are confronted with cyberbullying episodes, sometimes on a daily basis.
When it comes to the development of a toolkit designed to combat cyberbullying, the expert told us about the importance of basing it on as much scientific evidence as possible, and keeping things simple – straightforward tools directed at changing behaviours in a positive manner can have amazing results. Furthermore, on this topic, the experts talked about the importance of AI but also about its limitations, highlighting the need for the presence of a human factor. Lastly, the expert told us about the impact that Gamification can have in this regard, mentioning the role of video games.
Another aspect highlighted by the stakeholders present in the Forum was the importance of the whole-school approach in combating cyberbullying. Indeed, it is imperative that cooperation between different fields is guaranteed, as it is necessary that different levels and areas of society are involved in the fight against cyberbullying and, likewise, that the research conducted on this topic is multidisciplinary.
Finally, the experts advised us to be mindful of the heterogeneity of children and young people as a group, and how their personalities and contexts influence their responses to cyberbullying. In this sense, it is also important to address the root causes of cyberbullying and understand the factors that contribute to cyberbullying behaviour, as opposed to reacting to the phenomenon in a general manner.
Following the KID_ACTIONS European Policy, Research and Practitioners Forum, the partners of the KID_ACTIONS Project met in person for the first time since the beginning of the project, for their mid-term meeting, during which they discussed the evolution of KID_ACTIONS thus far, as well as the next steps for this project. Each Work Package Leader shared the work done within their work packages and how it influences the development of the project.
Lastly, on November 30th and December 1st 2021 two co-creation sessions were organized in Trento with a group of teachers from different regions in Italy. The teachers involved in this process had the opportunity to discuss the finding of the KID_ACTIONS project, the experiences shared during the KID_ACTIONS Policy Forum, and try out the materials, activities and tools that are being developed as part of the KID_ACTIONS educational toolkit. The teachers identified the need for activities and strategies that allow unknown cases of cyberbullying to be identified and dealt with. Furthermore, the participants noted the need for schools to have better cyberbullying prevention policies and shared some of their preferred methods to combat cyberbullying.
As for Trento’s Christmas Markets: Not too bad ?