The White Dot Tolerance Project
”The White Dot Tolerance” Project was initiated by the Hunedoara County Police Inspectorate in partnership with Hunedoara County School of Sports and Youth. It was implemented in Deva City during the period 1st of May – 19th June 2015 and it addressed to teenagers aged 15-17, teachers and parents.
The aim of the project was to prevent the serious effects of cyber bullying in the physical and psychological development of young people/adolescents.
It’s activities were:
- a debate with 174 teachers from the entire county, to which the police officers presented the results of the sociological study conducted by the policemen (sociologist) and the school psychologists in 2014 on a representative sample of 853 pupils in the 7th grade;
- an intensive training course for 25 pupils from Deva City, for 2 days (8 hours);
- a meeting with 27 parents of the young participants in the project who were presented with methods of recognition and intervention in cyber bullying cases;
- a human street photo exhibition (human chain) made on in the center of Deva City, for public awareness of the community;
- six information activities in schools, to raise awareness of the phenomenon and change attitudes towards victims and to raise awareness of the consequences of cyberbullying.
All the proposed objectives have been achieved and the community feed-back was positive and above expectations. The project will be replicated in other areas of the county and it can also be replicated successfully in other U.E. states.
The project started from the need to increase the safety of pupils in the school environment. At the age of adolescence (between 10 and 17 years), the boundary between real life and virtual life is very sensitive, in many cases interconnected, so that young people getting to bear the consequences of the online environment in their personal lives. Taking into account the popularity of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter social networking sites in Romania, that 80% of students have an user account, the project justified its necessity, with its declared aim of preventing the serious effects of bullying and cyber bullying among adolescents. The large amount of time that young people spend online and the major importance it attaches to social life in the virtual environment has led to the identification of the need for a project of this type, that would present the serious consequences of cyber bullying, its manifestation, the effects it has among the victims, but also the preventive and interventional methods in this field. The problem being identified in the high schools, the project aimed at bringing to the attention of the youth and adults around them (parents, teachers, school counselors, school psychologists) the phenomenon of cyber bullying, proposing the solutions to intervene and reduce verbal, physical violence, emotional abuse, exclusion, and hate speech in schools.
Through its activities, the project brought additional information to the community over local school issues, raised awareness amongst adults (parents, teachers and school psychologists) facilitating dialogue between them and adolescents both at home and in schools. Teachers were informed about the results and conclusions of the sociological study among the 7th grade students about the phenomenon, the effects and consequences of cyber bullying, being able to immediately recognize a situation of this kind in school. Parents in the project have acquired new and useful information about the specific behaviors of cyber bullying victims and can then easily identify if their children are at risk. Parents also found ways to react, to communicate with adolescents and effectively intervene. In the same time, the level of knowledge of the pupils directly involved in the training and school campaigns was improved, by clearly explaining the notion of cyber bullying and by correlating with their own experiences in the school environment. Students have been able to identify the causes of the phenomenon, to outline the profile of the victim and the aggressor, the gang leader. By promoting the project in the local media, the whole community has been able to perceive the dimensions of the phenomenon and to identify concrete ways of approaching prevention and especially the recognition of cyber bullying.