Online violence is a growing concern. In an increasingly digital world, young people across Europe are socially interacting online more and more. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed children’s daily lives even further online and the amount of (unsupervised) time spent online has increased substantially due to lockdowns worldwide. While access to the digital world is important to participate in society and online spaces provide many positive opportunities, they also increase risks of online violence. Online ‘experimenting’ can be recorded instantly, spread rapidly, and viewed by a wide audience. Compromising content can circulate online forever. Young people are increasingly being confronted with online sexual violence, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Internet hotlines and saw a record rise in online child sexual abuse reports and Europol reported a surge in online distribution of child sexual abuse material
The CYBERSAFE project
In CYBERSAFE we put the spotlight on gender-based online violence. Girls (and women) are more likely than boys (and men) to be victims of severe forms of online violence, in particular forms that have a sexual element. The United Nations state that in the EU, 18% of girls have experienced a form of serious online violence by the time they are 15 years old.
CYBERSAFE aims to prevent and combat online sexual violence among young people aged 13-16 with partners in Greece, The Netherlands, Slovenia, UK, Italy, Estonia, Denmark and Austria.
The objectives of the project are:
- Create an evidence based, attitude-changing prevention educational intervention for young people, applicable to all participating EU countries;
- Address online gender-based violence as a form of violence against women and girls and develop a systematic gender sensitive approach to prevent it and promote healthy relationships and gender equality online;
- Develop and promote an innovative, experiential, as well as playful educational ICT tool that promotes behavioural change among young people (12-18);
- Facilitate professionals working with young people (12-18) to run and implement an educational prevention programme on onlinen gender-based violence;
- Disseminate the developed intervention throughout Europe.
1. To specify the framework of online violence against women and girls (Cyber VAWG).
2. To develop an Educational Prevention Programme on online gender-based violence for young people, of which the central element is an online Serious Game.
3. Assess the impact of the developed programme on the attitudes and behaviour of young people.
4. Disseminate project outputs to the wider community to enable replication.
The CYBERSAFE Toolkit is an innovative, evidence-based educational prevention programme, which promotes safe, responsible online behavior among boys and girls.
The Toolkit is intended for teachers or other professionals, who want to address the issue of online sexual violence and online safety among young people (13-16). The Toolkit provides all necessary materials to facilitate four workshops.
After participating in a workshop, young people know how to prevent, recognize and respond to online violence, when it happens to themselves or when they witness it.
The CYBERSAFE Toolkit consists of two elements:
The CYBERSAFE Toolkit was translated into Estonian, Slovenian, Dutch, Danish, German, Greek and Italian. All translated versions of the Guide can be found here.
All other deliverables, including the literature review and the report of the behavioral impact assessment, can be found on the project website: www.stoponlineviolence.eu