ACP YPN Expert on Cyber-Bullying & Digital Literacy, EYE2018

On 1-2 June 2018, Kelly-Ann Fonderson, an ACP YPN youth delegate attended the European Youth Event (EYE) at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. During the EYE 2018 conference, Kelly-Ann attended the Glitch! UK panel with Seyi Akiwowo on women in politics, cyber bullying and gender-based violence. While discussing solutions to these intersectional issues Kelly-Ann called for enhanced digital literacy training for police to recognize the severity of online violence and tackle online hate crimes. Out of the 8,970 youth participants, and 1,000 ideas submitted, Kelly-Ann’s recommendation was published in the EYE report (see page 60), which documented the best 100 ideas during the conference.

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One of the issues with cyberbullying and violence against women is that authorities whom effect change do not always recognize the violence in time. This is due to lack of digital literacy, underestimating or disregarding signs of violence and hate crimes, or failing to recognize the escalation of violence. For these reasons Kelly-Ann suggests a three-fold solution:
1)Police should be trained and equipped with digital literacy to recognize the signs of cyber hate crimes and cyberviolence in order to prevent its escalation in the non-cyber world;
2) Secondly, schools and educational platforms should teach about cyber bullying and best practices in order to prevent online hate crimes and cyberbullying;
3) Lastly, cyber violence should be included in the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) to protect all citizens from cyberviolence and online abuse.

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This suggestion is supported by the legal instrument of the Istanbul Convention which aims to combat violence against women and domestic violence through an international and integrated approach. Kelly-Ann’s suggestion calls attention to the multiple forms that
women in particular face violence. Such forms include physical violence, emotional abuse, financial abuse along with digitalization cyber violence. Cyber violence, like domestic violence remains a gendered problem. According to Seyi Akiwowo, founder of charity Glitch!UK women are more likely than men to suffer from online abuse. For this reason, online abuse should be added to the Istanbul Convention framework.

In conclusion, in Kelly-Ann’s perspective, education is key to influencing culture and equipping the current and future generations to use technology responsibly. Finally, high profile cases of cyberbullying related to stalking, verbal harassment can in the worst cases lead to fatality. Due to the role of digitalization and technological changes in society it is necessary for police and law enforcement to understand the nature of cybercrime, what to look out for and how to prevent escalation. (See her recommendation below!)

3By Kelly-Ann Fonderson – Get in touch and connect with Kelly-Ann on Linkedin 

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