"The older I got, the harsher the insults became."On the occasion of this year's day of action against cyberbullying, five nationwide media literacy projects publish a joint video about the bullying experiences of a victim

Together against cyberbullying! Under this motto, five partner projects from various state media authorities have joined forces to set an example against cyberbullying on November 18. The occasion is the annual international "Stand up to Bullying!" day. With three stirring videos in which a young woman reports on her bullying experiences, young people, parents and educators are to be informed about cyberbullying and its consequences and sensitized to the topic.

One in five young people affected by cyberbullying

As a recent study by Techniker Krankenkasse shows, cyberbullying has become a permanent problem. 16.7 percent of students are affected, i.e. more than 1.8 million children and young people. In 2017, before the corona pandemic, the figure was still 12.7 percent. So the pandemic has exacerbated the problem. The consequences of cyberbullying can be severe, ranging from physical ailments such as headaches and stomachaches to mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders or depression. In the worst case, it even leads to suicidal thoughts, according to the study in one in four of those affected.

Jochen Fasco, Director of the Thuringian State Media Authority (TLM) and representative of the state media authorities for media competence, explains: "Young people must not be left alone with cyberbullying and its profound consequences. It is therefore all the more important that the projects of the state media authorities join forces to draw attention to the issue and provide support to those affected."

Bullying experiences of a victim

Bianca Halletz (18) already had to experience bullying in her elementary school days. She was excluded, teased, insulted and even beaten. The bullying continued for years and changed over time: "The older I got, the harsher the insults and bullying strategies of my classmates became," says Bianca.

In fifth grade, Bianca got her first cell phone ­­ ­ - and with it, another form of bullying was added to bullying in the schoolyard: cyberbullying. "There were then the first WhatsApp groups. Most of the time I didn't dare write anything for fear of being insulted. If I did write something, that's exactly what happened."

Powerful videos with clear message

In three videos, Bianca talks about her (cyber) bullying experiences, but also focuses on the bullies and their motives as well as outsiders who have witnessed the exclusions and insults. She tells what she would have wished from classmates and teachers and at the end gives tips on how others affected can defend themselves against bullying ­- whether offline or online. "I have learned that it is better not to respond to the provocations and attacks, but to ignore them. If there's no response, the bullies eventually get bored."

Bianca has turned her past bullying experiences into something positive: Today, she helps others who are in a similar situation as she used to be. For the past two years, she has been volunteering as a JUUUPORT scout and advises her peers on problems online. "There are no reasons for bullying. It can affect anyone. That makes it all the more important to educate others about it and support them in their difficult situation."

Education and prevention more important than ever

klicksafe, JUUUPORT, handysektor, Internet-ABC and ZEBRA, nationwide projects of the state media authorities, have joined forces for the annual day of action against cyberbullying. They each focus on different target groups: Children, teenagers, young adults, parents and educational professionals. In addition to the latest videos, they offer a comprehensive anti-cyberbullying package that bundles information, materials and hands-on activities on the topic on a single campaign page. The content is distributed annually via the social networks of the participating projects under the hashtag #TogetherAgainstCyberbullying.