UNICEF’s young reporters: #EndViolence
In this crisis, internet safety has become even more important as many children and young people are increasingly using the internet for distance learning
PODGORICA, 14 May 2020 – During the global COVID-19 pandemic, many are taking technology for granted, using it to learn, play and communicate with those close to them, and with the many different services – education, health, social welfare and child protection – which have also moved online. In this crisis, internet safety has become even more important as many children and young people are increasingly using the internet for distance learning. Greater use of the internet means that young people are more exposed to various risks than ever, including online peer violence or cyberbullying.
With this in mind, UNICEF’s young reporters have recorded a short video for the social media campaign #EndViolence, calling on their peers to master communication etiquette on the internet and beyond.
“It is perfectly normal that we have different opinions on various issues and that is not a problem – a problem only arises when someone tries to impose an opinion and insults others who disagree. Therefore, the important thing is to learn discussion etiquette, online and beyond,” young reporter Dunja Šestović explains.
The young reporters believe this is, at the same time, an issue of healthy development, as it happens that children and young people find it difficult to cope with jealousy and envy, which in turn results in them insulting others on the internet.
“I believe we should talk more, both at home and in school, about different emotions, such as jealousy and envy, and ways of dealing with them. One should not be ashamed of any of the emotions one feels. It is important to learn how to recognize them and how to best react to them,” young reporter Đorđe Ivanović points out.
The role of witnesses to violence is key to stopping it, young reporters believe, and this is what they have indicated in the video they recorded on the subject. They call on all participants in online communication not to support violence by remaining silent about it, but to report it and to remove violent actors from online communication.
“It is possible to report violence on social networks, as well as to block those who are being violent and exclude them from further communication. We believe this is the right way to respond to such phenomena,” young reporter Emir Drešević indicates.
This initiative, inter alia, has resulted from violence workshops for young reporters that were held with psychotherapist Darija Petović-Bambur over the course of the last month.
“Peer violence is a problem that is often indicated by young people when we ask them what bothers them in society. If we do not talk about it, we are missing the chance to end the violence and to help the perpetrators, the victims and the witnesses to face up to this and to grow into responsible citizens who will support the creation of a non-violent, emotionally literate society,” Petović-Bambur says.
#EndViolence is the latest in a series of actions by young reporters implemented since the coronavirus outbreak. So far, the young reporters have called on people to establish a balance between time spent online and offline through the #OfflineAtHome action, as well as to follow high-quality media content, to verify the accuracy of all information and to follow reliable information sources, etc. According to a recent Ipsos survey, implemented with UNICEF support, one in three parents have noticed the young reporters, while 91% of them find the young reporters good role models for young people in our society.