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TITLE OF GOOD PRACTICE:

Bullies deprived of Facebook profile

KEYWORDS:

Cyber-bullying, Internet, social networks, e-mail, mobile phone, Facebook, account, closing

GOOD PRACTICE TYPOLOGY:

National Project

TARGET GROUPS:

School actors and general public

WORKING GROUP COORDINATING THE INITIATIVE:

« French national assizes on school bullying », 2nd and 3rd May 2011.
Seminar organised and chaired by the French sociologist Eric Debarbieux.

COUNTRY WHERE IT TOOK PLACE:

France – Paris

LANGUAGE OF THE REVIEW:

English

DEFINITION OF TARGET GROUP:

Parents, Policy Makers, Teachers, Researchers, Young People, School Directors, consellors, trainers....

DESCRIPTION OF THE GOOD PRACTICE:

Seminar organised and chaired by the French sociologist Eric Debarbieux (also President of the “International Observatory of school violence”), at the request of the Minister of National Education, Luc Chatel.



The objective of this seminar is to propose concrete measures to fight school bullying, and especially cyber-bullying.



How to fight bullying through Internet and social networks?

It is one more difficulty that the school actors have to face.

In front of the bullying phenomenon, as well as other social behaviours, the networks are like sound boxes: insults posted on Facebook profiles, creation of groups against a pupil, online publishing of humiliating videos…



Don’t we trend to amplify this phenomenon? Do we really know its extent? Some assert that. The danger would be overestimated because of an anti-internet prejudgement that exists especially amongst the teachers.



So we have to stick to the facts. In France, the CNIL, the Central Commission of Computing and Liberties receives each month 15 to 20 complaints of that kind. But this is not really well-known.



At the time of the « Assizes of  bullying at school” organised by the Ministry of National Education, a child psychiatrist explained : “As the nooks of the schoolyard or the school toilets, the social networks and the electronic mails are places not much monitored by adults. Bullying facts happen there”.

That leads us to the conclusion that it is necessary for the adults (teachers, parents, even the more reluctant about the social networks) to understand the working of Facebook.


Bullies deprived of Facebook profile.

The pupils guilty of school bullying will see their Facebook account closed.



While in Germany and in Great Britain, the networks are considered as a space of prevention (as they allow to touch all the youths in the environment they appreciate), in France, the choice of repression has been made. The French Minister negotiates with Facebook the possibility to expel the authors of reprehensible facts from the network.



At the time of the “Assizes against school bullying” the Minister made clear the terms of this partnership. “The solution that we worked out is simple: we will systematically report the pupils guilty of bullying on this network, and their Facebook account will be closed” states Luc Chatel.



The Minister has justified this decision explaining that Facebook should “remain a space for friendship, where the bullies can’t go on bullying their victims with impunity”. So, for instance those who have a good time creating a group of “friends” against a fellow on the social network will see their profile disappear from the network.



The Minister has even gone further: “For the most serious cases, the victims’ families will benefit from a special support in order to file a complaint via a partnership with the Central Office of fight against cyber-criminality”. The sentence can be one year of prison and 15,000 € of penalty.



According to the researcher Eric Debarbieux, the number of cases of bullying through Internet increases in school environment for several years.

He has given the Minister others propositions to fight these new forms of bullying linked to the development of new technologies.



Debarbieux advocates the « responsibility of the medias, of the mobile phone operators and of the Internet providers”, because that becomes “one of the main problems in the triggering of collective violent acts” (fights originating from rumors on the Web, on Twitter or via sms, for instance)”.



He points out that an “agreement with the press companies together with the phone operators, the Internet providers and the social networks should be made”.


He proposes, in particular, a « free diffusion of positive messages and alert messages regarding the use of these networks that should be negotiated with the social networks and with the Internet providers as well”.

INDICATORS:

Definition of bullying or cyberbullying, Detection protocol, Intervention protocol, Disciplinary methods, School conferences, Cooperative group work.

EVALUATION:

Numerous people question about the efficiency of these measures.

Ex. of pupils’ reaction: « If they close my account, I don’t care, I will open another one, or I will do the same on MSN”.


It is true that creating an account with a nickname is very easy: a simple change of address allows to get a new profile!




Regarding the Debarbieux’s propositions, some are afraid that it is about to make the Internet providers and the media world more ethical, and to catch their attention to a problem they don’t care about. An Internet user points out that it would be rare to see them dealing with this subject. Let’s ask Facebook to shoot a bullet in its feet, Zuckerberg would probably agree !”.


pages

COMMENT:

Numerous people doubt the efficiency of these measures.

Ex. of pupils’ reaction: « If they close my account, I don’t care, I will open another one, or I will do the same on MSN”.


It is true that creating an account with a nickname is very easy: a simple change of address allows the pupils to make a new profile!


Regarding the Debarbieux’s propositions, some are afraid that it is about to make the Internet providers and the media world more ethical, and to catch their attention to a problem they don’t care about. An Internet user points out that it would be rare to see them dealing with this subject. Let’s ask Facebook to shoot a bullet in its feet, Zuckerberg would probably agree!”.


But that is not a reason to give up…  This political position has the virtue of making the general public aware of a problem that is indeed not new, but that has taken a new dimension at the time of digital communication.


NAME OF COMPILER:

Martine PRIGNON

NAME OF INSTITUTION:

INFOREF

ROLE:

Projects realization

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