DRI: Distance learning increases the threat of cyberbullying
Distance learning has made the threat of cyberbullying even greater, especially under circumstances when the state has not yet taken necessary measures to prevent or respond to cyberbullying.
From March 2020, due to the epidemiological situation created by coronavirus, studies switched to the online mode in Georgia. It was planned to resume studies in the classrooms in September, but due to the increase in the number of infected persons, the learning process is still remote. Certain part of the schoolchildren will continue their studies remotely on October 1. Consequently, the use of the Internet by children has increased, which exacerbates the threats of online violence and cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying involves writing, sending and/or sharing texts that contain harmful and negative content for the addressee. It also involves the release or threats of the release of private information, which is degrading and shameful for the victim. Forms of cyberbullying include harassment, dissing, impersonation  (pretending to be someone else), exclusion, cyberstalking and release of personal and intimate information.

The results of the monitoring conducted by the Public Defender's Office in general education institutions in 2017 showed that cyberbullying was not perceived as violence. The level of identification of such violence is extremely low both among adults and children. Unfortunately, several cases of cyberbullying have resulted in teenagers’ suicide or attempted suicide in recent years.The Democracy Research Institute calls on the Government of Georgia and the Ministry of Education of Georgia to:

  • Develop a strategy and action plan with the involvement of the civil society to prevent and respond effectively to cyberbullying
  • Take effective steps to prevent cyberbullying among teenagers
  • Provide relevant information to school administration, teachers and parents in order to increase their knowledge and competence in cyberbullying.