Bullying Education Awareness and Tactics for Inclusion and Tolerance (BEAT IT!) is based on the knowledge, research and understandings gained from five previous Erasmus+ projects on inclusion; Enabled Media, Network of Inclusive Communities in Europe (NICE) and NICE2Talk and EVA-FEM empowerment training for women and girls from conflict and disaster zones, with life changing injury, victims of physical and sexual violence, transgender, rom broken homes and the traveller community. Young disabled and non-disabled people investigated the themes of communication, inclusion, integration and safety for young disabled and non-disabled people in traditional communities as well as the modern communities of social media. Whilst internet access provides great benefits in discovering things about the world, it also causes collateral issues in terms of e-safety. It was felt that digital literacy was poor. A recurring theme was that bullying and intolerance had become rife on social media not just for young people, but for everyone in society and this seemed to be reflected powerfully in traditional communities, creating intolerance, hate speech and prejudice especially against people with fewer opportunities as well as a rise in “fake news” and populism. It was thought that social media had had a significant role in the current shift from democratic liberalism to a rise in prejudice and right-wing extremism. Reflection and review from participants in the recent EVA-FEM project on the empowerment of women showed that bullying and cyberbullying were the greatest issues facing young people and digital literacy was what they most wanted to address. The young people have led the idea for this project and have been active in the writing of it.
93% of 16-24 year olds access the internet in the Eurozone (Eurostat 2016). Mobile devices proliferate at an increasing rate with over 90% of young using mobile devices in work, school and leisure (Eurostat 2014). As a result, young people are considered to be “digital natives” but they are neither digitally literate nor adequately prepared to deal with the emotional challenges of social media as they begin to chase “likes” and positive comments to their posts. They may feel pressure to be constantly connected and worry about their online image as their social interactions become more complex. Following unrealistic lifestyles on social media creates a double-edged sword making young people feel inadequate and self-conscious about their online image whilst they face rising cyber-bullying. Free and ready access to the internet has created a huge increase in unreliable information for young people and a lack of critical thinking is reinforcing stereotypes, inciting hate speech and increasing bullying, prejudice and xenophobia.
SMART objectives of BEAT IT! are as follows:
Objective 1 To improve critical thinking skills
Objective 2 To improve communication skills
Objective 3 To improve competences in creativity in digital media
Objective 4 To improve collaboration using digital tools
Disabled people from each organisation will bring accompanying persons who will provide support to the participants and will lead some activities during the different exchanges. By engaging in this type of collaboration, young people are even more prepared to participate successfully in our global economy.These objectives are inline with the Erasmus+ programme for inclusive, sustainable smart growth particularly aligned with the Euro 2020 Strategy pillar of Digital Agenda to enhance digital literacy and inclusion as well as aligning with the European strategy for Better Internet for Children and Youth. In accord with the 2017 Youth Action programme the project will promote the values of diversity, human rights, intercultural dialogue and tolerance whilst enhancing media literacy, critical thinking and a sense of initiative. This inclusive project will give priority to people with the obstacle of fewer opportunities including young disabled people and people who have a lived experience of bullying, intolerance and prejudice in order to be able to fully address the issues of e-safety, the lack of digital literacy and appropriate use of social media amongst young people. This development of best practice in social media will help to reduce hate speech, cyberbullying and combat the rise of populism and extremism on the internet for young people with fewer opportunities both with and without internet access to social media platforms and within traditional communities.
Programme and action:
Erasmus+ KA1 Youth Exchanges
4-11 November 2018 | 9-16 March 2019 | 12-19 May 2019
Lithuania, United Kingdom, Hungary
Number of participants:
- United Kingdom