More than 300 people participated in a conference on adolescents and social networks

05/07/17
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More than 300 people including educators, trainers, educational psychologists, and pedagogues recently participated in a conference on "Adolescentes digitales: prevención, detección y reacción ante las nuevas formas de victimización en las redes sociales e Internet” [Digital adolescents: prevention, detection and reaction to new forms of victimisation on social networks and the internet]. The conference was organised by the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Education. 

The inauguration speech for the event was given by Jordi Miró, General Director for Care for Families and the Educational Community in the Department of Education in the Catalan Generalitat.  Miró presented the new programme for educational innovation:  "Aquí bastante bullying", which will start up next year.  As the speaker mentioned, the idea is for it to be the pupils themselves who provide warnings about cases of bullying among their classmates.  In primary schools teams to promote coexistence will be set up and in secondary compulsory education classes, “lookout” groups will be created.  Currently only primary and secondary schools that have coexistence plans in place will be able to participate in this programme.

Jordi Miró underlined the fact that “the implication of the university world is key”.  This is the case in order to train future teachers at universities, as well as provide information to public administration through the research undertaken by researchers on these issues.

Afterwards the first round table took place in which speakers talked about protocols for institutional reactions and managing incidents based on their experiences of cyberbullying and sexting in schools. The table was moderated by the journalist Mónica Valle, who presents a programme called Mundo Hacker (TVE) and is also an expert in communication in the field of cybersecurity and ICT.

The round table began with a video by Pedro G. Aguado, who presents two TV programmes, one called Hermano Mayor and the other called Cazadores de Trolls. García Aguado asked the speakers and attendees some questions “are we ready to make ethical use of social networks? When should a minor have a smartphone? ". The presenter also described some real cases the programme has dealt with in the past.

Subsequently José R. Agustina, director of the Master’s degree in Cybercrime at UIC Barcelona talked about the context of these problems based on some real data.  Agustina specifically focused on sexting.  Currently “adolescents have thrown themselves into digital narcissism, if they don’t transmit their feelings live on social networks, they don’t exist”, he said.

On the other hand, Josep Coll, a founding partner at Red Points, talked about the work his organisation does to eliminate images on the internet.  Coll talked about the ease and subsequent problems generated by the fact that minors can publish any image on social networks without any prior reflection.  The lawyer also talked about the importance of evaluating the information we share in the digital world since “Your online reputation is your CV” and companies are increasingly looking at your personal accounts before employing you.

Pablo Borjabad, a public prosecutor for minors who is an expert in ICT, described how the public prosecutor’s office intervenes in cases of bullying and sexting, the criteria they use for accusations and the responsibility of schools.  Marc Argemí, founding partner of Sibilas, gave the closing talk at the round table.  He talked about resolving the communication crisis generated in relation to people’s digital reputation.

The second round table dealt with the function of families and schools when tackling hate speech. The journalist Mònica Terribas was the moderator for this round table.

The first person to speak was Juan Carlos Hernando, holder of a PhD in Philosophy and Educational Science and head teacher at La Farga school.  Hernando talked about how to get families involved and gave some examples of how they organise this in schools.  Afterwards, public prosecutor Miguel Ángel Aguilar, coordinator of the Hate Crimes and Discrimination Service took the floor.  Aguilar said “I feel that awareness-raising campaigns about hate speech should be carried out by the public administration”.

At the round table they also talked about the experiences of the local police force.  Specifically, about the difficulties there are to research this type of crime on social networks and the action protocols that need to be followed.  Finally, the lawyer Carlos Martínez, from RBM criminal lawyers, talked about the radicalisation and recruitment of young people on the internet.  Martínez presented some examples of hate crimes and stated that in many cases, young people are not aware of the consequences of their actions.

More than 300 people participated in this event and it was a trending topic in Barcelona at one point during the afternoon.  The event was also streamed to Latin America via Facebook Live. Watch via streaming.