UNESCO IITE takes a stand against cyberbullying together with young coders and software developers

The development of information technologies opens new opportunities for professional and creative development. It does though bring up some challenges and threats, cyberbullying among them.

On October 20-22, 2017 Saint Petersburg hosts VK.com Hackathon. A prominent event for the ICT Industry in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the VK Hackathon gathers over 350 young programmers for solving different cases in the spheres of fintech, media, infrastructure, culture and education. As the Hackathon’s partner for socially important cases, UNESCO Institute for Information technologies in education (UNESCO IITE) brings to discussion the issue of cyberbullying (aggression, threats and insults in the Internet).

Cyberbullying is a growing challenge not only for education system but for the global IT industry. As toxic as off-line bulling, aggressive behavior in the Internet is highly harmful for phycological and emotional condition of teenagers.

According to UNESCO data, about 12% of young people between 9 and 16 years old are victimized by cyberbullying attacks globally*. Adolescents in Russia increasingly experience this negative trend**.

Yulia Plakhutina, Project Manager for Education of UNESCO IITE says:

“Together with VK.com team we provided the participants of the Hackathon a platform for constructive discussion of the ways to fighting back against aggressive behavior in the Internet. This global challenge calls for comprehensive solutions that would not infringe upon freedom of expression in the Internet on the one hand and provide for children and teenagers an opportunity to use on-line resources without facing violence and bullying”.

IITE case suggests the teams of developers to come up with ICT tools to enhance cyberbullying prevention.

As part of the Hackathon activities, UNESCO IITE  also organizes a learning lounge that will give participants an opportunity to chill out and learn more of the IITE initiatives for healthy living and building non-violent relationships.  On October 2, UNESCO IITE brings World Champions in Programming (ACM/ICPC) to meet with the VK Hackathon participants.  The world-best programmers will take questions on how to get prepared to major international championships, share best practices of teamwork as well as their vision of cyberbullying-free Internet.

*School Violence and Bullying. Global Status Report

**The Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) Study: International Report from the 2013/14 Survey. WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2016.

Event information

VKontakte Hackathon is initiated by the VKontakte social network as a driver for ICT development, support of young gifted developers and creation of innovative IT tools for practical purposes.  Over 350 participants united in 100 teams within three days are competing in five thematic areas.

Hackathon is a competition in creation of IT product prototypes.  The teams are formed of programmers, designers and managers that look for out-of-box effective solutions. Within limited timing they are to develop cases of choice. The winners will get a financial support for bringing their projects to life.