Filippo Ungaro | 22 March 2016
“Now you will be glad”. This seems to be what a 12-year-old girl from Pordenone wrote to all her classmates before flowing from the second floor of her house about ten days ago. She could just not go back into her classroom. She was scared of her classmates, of being teased, of the humiliations. She was a victim of bullying or cyberbullying if you prefer. And just like her, there are a lot of young people that suffer for it. According to ISTAT, more than 50% of those under 18. Luckily, the girl is going to manage it, a 40 days prognosis and it looks like serious damages are excluded.
However, it is not about the story of which I would like to talk. Not even about a desperate attempt of a person, still very young, to shout to the world the anger for the humiliations and sufferings she went through. Reporters and important experts have already said a lot about this.
What I like to highlight is a spontaneous act started by some peers of the Pordenone girl. Young people who felt outraged by what happened. Who wanted their voice to be heard loudly. Who have made an important act of solidarity. Not only that. They built a communication campaign that is not bad at all. They took a poster, wrote on it “People do not die of discrimination”, and took a picture of themselves. They posted the picture on their Facebook page (facebook.com/sottosoprabari) and immediately received lots of likes, nearly 8.000, and about 3.600 shares.
Someone relaunched the initiative, social networks of important associations or national and regional newspapers (two examples are corriere.it and regional News Channel of RAI Puglia). In short, a real success. Visibility, no doubt. However, I am sure, that it also generated an effective raising of awareness for those young people that commit bullying acts, as in this case, it is not us adults to say to our children what they should or should not do, but their own peers with smart and efficient slogans.
From this incident, I draw two main elements of reflection: firstly that the truly felt campaigns, spontaneous, natural, are those that work best. This is more a confirmation than a novelty, but it is always good for “communicators” like us, not to forget it.
Secondly, on February 9th the Safer Internet Day was held, the European day for a safer use of the Internet and of the new technologies. Well, once again we take this opportunity to reflect on how new technologies can be important for the growth and learning of our children. Also, how they should be educated to a healthy and safe use of them. Even today, media education does not exist in the Italian school curriculum. In addition, if we assume that we are, on average, ignorant parents on the matter, who will ever teach our children?