Schools from Prienai (Lithuania) to Croydon, Anglesey to Zaragoza (Spain), joined more than 100,000 young people, parents, and other organisations to deliver a virtual petition to the European Commission, calling for new laws and much-needed funding to protect children from bullying and cyberbullying.
The scheme was organised by BeatBullying and the #DeleteCyberbullying campaign. Emma-Jane Cross, CEO and founder of BeatBullying said: “Far too many European citizens still see bullying as ‘part of growing up’ and don’t take it seriously. This is pushing young people to the brink with some even resorting to harming themselves in order to cope. How many more children have to tragically lose their lives before these outdated perceptions change?
“More than 100,000 children, families, schools and charitable organisations are sending the European Commission a clear message that enough is enough. We urge them to listen.”
A new poll released to coincide with the start of the online march found that more than half (55%) of children in Europe who have been bullied said they became depressed as a result, with over a third saying they harmed themselves (35%) or thought about suicide (38%).
Worryingly, 34% of adults thought that bullying is regarded as a ‘normal part of growing up’, and one in six adults (16%) said it is regarded as ‘character building’ by most people in their country, raising concerns amongst campaigners that the pain caused by bullying still remains hidden to many European citizens.
Other organisations that have signed up to support the campaign include the European Parents’ Association, which represents 150,000,000 parents across Europe, The European Anti-Bullying Network, Erasmus Student Network, European Youth Forum, European Schoolnet – a network of 30 European Ministries of Education, OBESSU (Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions), Puffin Books, Plants vs. Zombies, The Scout Association, Mumsnet and global antivirus company Bullguard.