Telekom Romania and Asociatia Telefonul Copilului are launching the campaign “How do you feel today?”, whereby cases of children abuse can be reported, including online harassment and physical harassment. The Campaign Platform, www.116111.ro, is an educational platform that brings together useful information on how children abuse cases can be reported, as well as ways to request specialized counseling for such cases.
Also, through this campaign is lunched the HappyGraff mobile application, developed by Asociatia Telefonul Copilului with financial support from Telekom Romania. HappyGraff works as a diary where teenagers can record their emotional states whenever they feel the need and have access to helpful tips on how to manage different situations with difficult emotional states. The mobile app can be accessed on handsets equipped with Android operating system and is available for download in GooglePlay for free. The application can also be downloaded from the campaign website.
“Beyond the obvious benefits of the internet and digitization, the online environment also has a dark side. Years ago we assumed the responsibility to fight against the negative effects of the online environment and we have been involved in online hazard awareness projects, especially for vulnerable categories, such as children. Cyberbullying is just one of the phenomena that grow and make victims among children and adolescents. We are happy to have this information and prevention campaign in partnership with Asociatia Telefonul Copilului, our longstanding partner in protecting children in Romania from abuse. We believe we can reduce the harassment risks among adolescents at a vulnerable age, who can make wrong decisions and become either victims or abusers, by educating them on the responsible use of online platforms. We chose to develop a mobile application to make it easier for the younger generation, which is digital native”, declared Florina Serban, CSR Project Manager, Telekom Romania.
In 2017 a number of 815 online counseling sessions for children and young people were conducted with the help of the specialists from Asociatia Telefonul Copilului. The main issues raised during the counseling sessions were:
- forms of abuse over them or their friends, in 50.89% of the cases;
- the need for psychological counseling on the lack of self-confidence, issues related to the physical aspect, 31,34%;
- the need for legal counseling on issues related to the negative effects of parental divorce and custody of the child, in 6.12% of cases;
- measures to combat domestic violence (protection order and restriction order), in 2.38% of the cases.
”In the era of online communications, it is natural to address children and young people using the same environment. We want to be sure that they have easy access to our services and the fact that only last year we had more than 800 online counseling requests at Asociaţia Telefonul Copilului proves that we have correctly anticipated their needs.
Supporting children and young people through the tools and channels they feel comfortable with, and providing effective services to prevent or solve difficult situations for them, sometimes even limit-situations, is the main objective of the online platform www.116111.ro and also of the HappyGraff application developed by Asociatia Telefonul Copilului and made available today to the public. HappyGraff is the first mobile application that provides access to children and adolescents to counseling services, directly from the mobile phone. We thank Telekom Romania for the financial and logistic support provided in developing these two new communication tools. We thank to Friends Advertising for the support offered in the development of the mobile application, the first of its kind offered by our organization to our beneficiaries”, declared Catalina Surcel, Executive Director, Asociatia Telefonul Copilului.
Data centralized by Asociatia Telefonul Copilului for 2017 shows that, for the first time, the emotional abuse is the most common form of abuse, in a percentage of 34.81% of the cases recorded at 116 111, a free number provided by Telekom Romania.
In the case study recorded by Asociatia Telefonul Copilului, the bullying abuse has some particularities, as follows:
- 12.38% of the bullying abuse cases occurred online or in public and 87.62% in school or kindergarten.
- Aggressors in the bullying abuse cases were: another child (94.41%), teacher (3.40%) and another adult (2.19%).
- In 90.82% of the cases (65.94% girls and 34.06% boys) there were children who reported cases of bullying abuse and in 9.18% of the cases were parents or other adults.
- The bullying phenomenon took the forms of: insults, offences, nicknames, sarcasm in percentage of 50.30%, harassment, embarrassment in percentage of 35.73% and intimidation, denigration, insults on the social status in percentage of 13.97%.
Monitoring the emotional states helps young people better know and better identify their feelings and situations that cause discomfort, especially those resulting from abuse, online and offline harassment. In this way, from the early stages of abuse or harassment, they can access support and specialized resources to overcome these difficult situations through chat, email, or phone calls to Asociatia Telefonul Copilului Professionals.
More information on child abuse through online and offline harassment and its implications, as well as on how to deal with this kind of situations are available on the website www.116111.ro. It represents an information tool for both online victims of abuse and harassment and for the ones interested in the topic. In the same time, the website is a contact point for reporting online abuse, by redirecting users to the Child Helpline Number 116 111, a line managed by Asociatia Telefonul Copilului, supported by Telekom Romania.
Launched few days before the International Children’s Day, the campaign aims to draw attention on the efforts taken to protect children in the virtual space.