How to address cyberbullying in school?

Globally, a third of young people have reported being a victim of cyberbullying, being exposed to and participating in toxic, aggressive, disruptive or addictive behaviour.


According to the latest WHO/Europe study, which focuses on patterns of bullying and peer violence among adolescents across 44 countries and regions, one in six school-aged children experiences cyberbullying. This international study, published last month, reported an increase from 2018, from 12% to 15% for boys and 13% to 16% for girls. In this context, with adolescents spending an increasing amount of time online, the promotion of digital literacy and safety and the prevention of bullying in schools becomes a top priority for governments, educators, parents and school leaders. 

European education and cyberbullying

In the European Union (EU), cyberbullying has been identified as one of the significant challenges hindering educational progress and affecting students well-being. This is why the European Commission, through  The Pathways to School Success initiative, makes recommendations for the effective implementation of a systemic, whole-school approach to the promotion of mental health and well-being and the prevention of bullying in schools across the EU.

The BIK+ strategy adopted in 2022 ensures synergies to address children's concerns and needs for the digital decade. This strategy aims to improve age-appropriate digital services and to ensure that every child is protected, empowered and respected online, with no one left behind. Over the years, Safer Internet Centres (SICs) in Europe have developed various educational resources and videos aimed at helping teachers, parents and carers, and children and young people, to discover the online world safely.

In the framework of the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) project, European Schoolnet has recently published a new good practice guide, with the aim to improve cooperation between EU co-funded Safer Internet Centre helplines (part of the Insafe network) and other non-Insafe helplines which are running the 116 111 harmonised number and related online services.

Despite current actions, cyberbullying has remained the most reported topic to the SIC helplines over the last decade. The guide, therefore, provides information about cyberbullying and how to best support children and young people who have been (or are being) affected by it. It also signposts to existing resources published by the Insafe network under the Better Internet for Kids project (BIK).  

Helplines provide information, advice and assistance to children, young people, and those who care for them on how to deal with harmful content, harmful contact (such as grooming), harmful conduct (such as cyberbullying or sexting) and contract issues (where the child is a consumer in the online space). Helplines can be accessed via a variety of means, such as by telephone, email, web forms, and online chat services.

Read or download the good practice guide

Greece launches stop-bullying.gov.gr 

In different countries, Ministries of Education are adopting different initiatives to tackle this problem. A good example is the new initiative of the Greek government, including a platform where pupils, parents and teachers will be able to report incidents of violence in their school that they either experience or witness, such as cyberbullying.

On 9 April 2024, The Minister of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports in Greece, Kyriakos Pierrakakis, announced in the presence of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the national strategy and information campaign to combat school violence and bullying, which was designed and will be implemented with the support of the Onassis Foundation

‘'Today we are launching a national campaign on a national issue that should unite us all, not divide us: school violence and bullying.

I would like to begin by thanking Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to underline the emphasis we are placing on tackling this phenomenon. And I would also like to express my heartfelt thanks to the Onassis Foundation for its valuable support in the design and implementation of the campaign. The goal we set today is to eliminate bullying and violence in schools. And, to achieve it, we are intervening by all means and at all levels.

We are establishing the Active Citizenship Programme and we are introducing horizontal life skills training for students from kindergarten to lower secondary school. In addition, by next September, the new School Regulations will come into force with clear rules of conduct and consequences for any misconduct. And, finally, we are launching the stop-bullying.gov.gr platform, through which a parent or a child in secondary school will be able to record in detail incidents of bullying, so that the investigation and response of the incidents can begin according to specific rules formulated by experts. We don't sweep anything under the rug. We all need to talk together; we all need to act together."

The stop-bullying.gov.gr platform also has a space with material for educators and also a list of different links to organisations and initiatives that focus on anti-bullying.

In the first instance, the school will deal with it and if the incident is assessed as very serious, then it will be managed by the education directorate: a four-member committee consisting of a psychologist, a social worker and two teachers.

Check the Greek stop bullying platform

Find more information about the Greek national strategy

Interested in this topic?, Do not forget to read more about the EU strategy to create a safer and better internet for children and young people on the Better Internet for Kids portal. https://www.betterinternetforkids.eu/