Bull-OFF, no more fear of bullying

Friday, 28 September 2018

The project “Bull-OFF. Let’s put a stop to bullying and cyberbullying”, developed by the Istituto degli Innocenti in Florence with the support of Enel Cuore Onlus, the Enel Group’s charitable organisation, and Enel Energia, has given schools the means to deal with one of the most serious problems facing pupils today. 

The presentation of the results of the project on 26 September in Florence at the Istituto degli Innocenti’s Salone Brunelleschi, highlighted that the best weapons to combat harassment and aggressive behaviour towards victims who cannot defend themselves are above all support and self-confidence. Prevention methods and approaches were identified during the eight months of research from November 2017 to June 2018, involving 1,200 students and 80 teachers from four schools in Tuscany (IC Galilei and IC Toniolo in Pisa, IC Calamandrei and IC Ghiberti in Florence), involving a total of 45 junior and middle school classes.

All these schools hosted an “Enel Cuore Bull-OFF Space”, specially designed to educate young people in the safe, responsible use of new technology. It’s a space where young people can share experiences, advice and information, and produce a blog about the issue of bullying.

In-class workshops were organised with psychologists and media educators, including teacher-training activities in order to develop greater collaboration between the schools and the pupils’ families. The four schools involved also organised an event open to parents to share the project and examine some of the legal aspects of bullying and cyberbullying. This important new contribution follows the awareness-raising initiatives promoted for the Safer Internet Day by the Moige (Italian Parents’ Movement) in partnership with Enel Cuore.

Bull-OFF has enabled young people to describe personal experiences and give their view of violence they have witnessed or experienced first-hand as a victim. Some said they went to their teachers for help, others went to their parents. Many emphasised how the bully is often identified as a “winner” or how the pain of loneliness can also be caused by exclusion from a WhatsApp group. Emotions and experiences were transformed into cartoons and videos that can be seen on the blog bulloff.trool.it, creating an archive on the progress of the workshops that is open to all. Maria Grazia Giuffrida, President of the Istituto degli Innocenti, hopes to be able to implement a similar strategy in other Italian schools. With Enel, even the toughest challenges at school can be overcome.  

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