The sneaking epidemic during COVID-19
“Cyberbullying is the sneaking epidemic during COVID-19 “
Our children are being exposed to an alarming form of bullying known as “cyberbullying”. Recent studies have revealed a significant rise in the number of children and young people who are subjected to cyberbullying locally, regionally and internationally due to the widespread use of the Internet during the COVID-19 pandemic, as experts believe. Social networking platforms and electronic games have become a fertile environment for this type of bullying, particularly exacerbated by the continuing closure and lockdown in Jordan which allowed this epidemic to infiltrate undetected into our homes and our children through ways that are the most popular to them.
Recognizing this threat, UNICEF, in cooperation with the NCFA, launched an online campaign to combat cyberbullying from November 2020 to February 2021. The launch complemented a series of media campaigns that the Council has organized in cooperation with UNICEF since 2017 in implementation of the activities of the National Strategy to End Violence against Children.
The significance of launching a specialized cyberbullying campaign lies in increasing awareness about this evil and how can parents, caregivers, children, young people, teachers, and others work to prevent it. To this effect, the campaign seeks to equip parents with tools to reduce potential online bullying and advocate for a safe Internet environment for children.
The campaign targeted the online audience including caregivers, parents of children aged 5-13, teachers, grandparents on the one hand, and teens between the ages of 13-18 on the other.
The campaign attracted a number of active partners who had a major role in advocating for the campaign, including Al-Mamlaka TV Channel, which has more than 2.5 million followers, in addition to other media professionals, journalists and social influencers on social media platforms. Believing in their positive influence and active role in communicating information and spreading awareness among young people, the campaign targeted 60 activists and influencers on social networks to help spread the knowledge through their pages and accounts, which enjoy exceptional number of followers. The percentage of followers from the youth segment reached 57%, mostly from the capital, Amman, and the rest distributed across the other governorates.
A variety of media materials with rich content (videos, sketches, cartoons, photos, etc.) were produced for TV channels or social media platforms. The campaign generated wide resonance as it used a variety of social media platforms, namely Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, in a bid to reach the target audience according to the various age groups.
Characterized by its colourful posts and graphics, rightfully suiting its target audience, this anti-cyberbullying online campaign was one of the most important campaigns that addressed young people during the pandemic. It has also addressed parents, caregivers and workers in the education sector to stimulate positive interaction with young people making advantage of their direct association with this phenomenon. This created a motivational and interactive discussion among social media users through all networking applications. Young people were reached through their favourite platform, TikTok, which according to the Telecommunications Sector Regulatory Authority increased the number of followers by 25%, specifically within young people and young people. The campaign received 1,313,923 followers, 2,948,175 impressions, 499,843 interactions and 127,577 video views.
On the whole, the campaign has been able to shed light on cyberbullying and the importance of fighting it. It has also called for raising voices to generate demand for the adoption of necessary interventions, policies and legal support at the national, institutional, academic and community levels in order to put an end to this phenomenon, stressing the need to provide psychosocial support to victims of cyberbullying.
The campaign achieved its goal by engaging t audience, whether parents, caregivers, or teenagers themselves, in a conversation about cyberbullying, encouraging them to take a stand. It also helped them take appropriate measure to fight it and provided parents with tools to reduce potential online bullying to achieve a safe environment.Messages for the parents and caregivers
• What do we mean by internet safety, and how can we maintain a safe online environment at home/ school?
• How can it protect their children in general, and specifically those under the age of 13?
• What is cyberbullying?
• What are the effects of cyberbullying on children?
• How do we know if a child is being bullied online?
• What tools to use?
The messages address the growing phenomenon of cyberbullying; what it is, and how dangerous it is for children. They also address the fact that children are living in a parallel world (physical and virtual), emphasizing the urgent need for their caregivers to ensure a safe online environment for them. Messages also provide caregivers with the tools with which they can educate their children from an early age and introduce them to an online code of conduct for children to understand and apply.
Messages for young teenagers
Message from influencers:
Influencers talk about cyberbullying and about the mental and emotional impact of the negative comments on the social media as compared to the positive feelings associated with positive comments. Several personal stories and experiences are told by young activists and influencers.