Online bullying has become a global societal problem, disproportionately affecting girls and women, people of colour, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities and other protected identity categories4. For youth, this problem has become exacerbated during the Covid-19 pandemic5, with many learning and social activities moving online. Parents6 are central to creating a safe and democratic digital world for young people, yet they have been largely excluded from anti-cyberbullying research and actions. PARTICIPATE will bring together Europe’s top experts in anti-cyberbullying to build a research and training network that will:

  • Create world-class Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) with transferable multi-disciplinary and intersectoral skills necessary to work with parents, youth, teachers and other professionals to more effectively prevent and reduce cyberbullying across Europe.
  • Introduce a vital new dimension into cyberbullying research by investigating the largest group of parents ever studied.
  • Harness the knowledge and perspectives being developed in different countries, academic disciplines, youth organisations and technology companies, uniting them in a powerful, strategic collaboration in the fight against cyberbullying in Europe.
  • Develop sufficient expertise on parents to create a state-of-the-art toolkit for teachers and other professionals working with parents to prevent cyberbullying.

These objectives will be achieved by a combination of individual and collaborative research work, non- academic secondments and workshops on scientific and complementary applied skills facilitated by the academic and non-academic composition of the consortium. ESRs (10) will not only undertake research on the most urgent questions in the field of cyberbullying, but will also work on the ground with practical organisations, and develop inter-disciplinary research designs through secondments in other European countries. Similarly, the network partners will develop new expertise through extensive knowledge exchange on the import, nature and extent of parental contribution to and prevention of cyberbullying across Europe.

PARTICIPATE brings together many of the world’s leading cyberbullying scholars and non-academic experts, involving the largest group of parents ever investigated. It is structured around eight work packages, four of which are research focused. These are strategically designed to both target and cross-sect the four key areas of concern central to online bullying: (i) Origins and Impacts of Cyberbullying (ii) Parents and Teachers/Professionals: Interventions and Communication (iii) Technology, Social Media and Online Bullying and (iv) Societal and Cross-National Aspects of Cyberbullying.
PARTICIPATE will have real-world impact by including parents in online bullying research, breaking through disciplinary orthodoxies and advancing new methods, enhancing intersectoral capacity, producing tangible outputs, shaping policy, and fostering cross-national cooperation. With greater knowledge about and involvement of parents, strategies to combat online bullying will become stronger, more holistic and more effective.