JAN 2018

Second World Anti-Bullying Forum in Dublin in 2019

“The forum will emphasize the importance of cross-national dialogues and create a stronger bridge between different scientific disciplines, as well as between research and practitioners, to make the best-known knowledge used where it really creates change for children and youth”, says Jacob Flärdh Aspegren, Head of Friends International Center against Bullying.

A number of leading international researchers and experts within the area will present their work during the conference. Some keynote presenters are Susan Swearer (US), Christina Salmivalli (FI), Dorte Marie Søndergaard (DK), Kevin Kumashiro (US), Michael Kyobe (SA), Christian Berger Silva (CL), Alan Goodboy (US), René Veenstra (NL) and Shoko Yoneyama (JP).

Friends International Center against Bullying is the initiator of the international forum, which will be arranged together with the National Anti Bullying Research and Resource Centre of the Dublin City University in Ireland and the US based International Bullying Prevention Association.

“Bullying is a universal problem and so we have invited experts from every corner of the globe who will help us to deepen our knowledge and expand our skills in tackling bullying among children and young people”, says James O’Higgins Norman, director of the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre at DCU.

“It is critical for educators and community leaders to stay abreast of the research and strategies that promote a sense of belonging in the school and community. This conference provides these strategies and will enable participants to make a significant impact in their sphere of influence, we are proud to be a partner on this global event”, adds IBPA’s Executive Director, Lynn Lonsway.

The first World Anti-Bullying Forum took place in Stockholm, Sweden in 2017, with 550 participants from 37 countries.

For more information visit www.WABF2019.com

JAN 2018

Lithuanian partner organization releases remake of Friends’ commercials

Friends International Center’s partner, Vaikų linija (Child Line), has re-recorded Friends’ social commercials “Red head” and “Together” in Lithuanian settings. The commercials are now parts of a nation-wide campaign supported by the President.

Bullying is a global problem without geographical borders. We are very content with the collaboration between Friends International Center and Vaikų Linija and this advertisement is a good example of how knowledge can be spread, across borders, says Jacob Flärdh Aspegren, Head of Friends International Center.

Friends’ Swedish commercials were released at the beginning of the 21st century.

We hope the advertisement will have the same great impact in Lithuania as it had when shown in Sweden, says Jacob Flärdh Aspegren.

Even though Child Line can see some positive changes in society’s attitude towards bullying, one in four children in Lithuania still suffers from bullying.

We have to continue our work in sensitizing the society and offering ways to stop and prevent bullying. Friends social advertisement adapted to Lithuanian environment shows in delicate and at the same time powerful manners how to disapprove of bullying. We hope that these examples will encourage more people to react to bullying, says Robertas Povilantis, Director of Vaikų Linija.

The remade films will be broadcasted in national television and through outdoor commercial posters in the five largest cities in Lithuania. The Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite supports the initiative and the campaign was launched at the Swedish Embassy in Vilnius.

For me as the Swedish Ambassador, it is lovely see how well a collaboration between a Swedish and a Lithuanian NGO can develop. They signed a collaboration agreement here at the Embassy a year ago and since then many things happened, says the Swedish Ambassador Maria Christina Lundqvist.

The collaboration between Friends International Center and Vaikų Linija continues, and in 2018 the second year of piloting the Friends program will be initiated.

Watch the two remade commercials here: “Red head” and “Together


DEC 2017

New study: Being alone in school increases the risk of fail grades

Children who do not have any friends and children that expose others to bullying or is exposed to bullying themselves, run a much higher risk of not attaining high school eligibility. This is the result from a new research study by Friends and Örebro University in Sweden. The unique study includes grades in the subjects Swedish, Swedish as a Second Language, Mathematics and English.

The study illustrates how prevalence of bullying and acts of degrading treatment, lack of friends and absenteeism affect children’s academic performance. Our research is the first of its kind in Sweden and it has been conducted through a longitudinal study, in which we have been able to follow students during several years.

Of the three factors mentioned above, lack of friends (social relations) during break time is the factor with most negative impact on grades. Children who say they are being alone have three times higher risk of failing grades that same year, compared to children who have someone to be with. Children who are being alone risk not being able to continue their studies at high school.

– In one way, we are not surprised that students’ social relations influence their grades to such large extent. However, it does show the strong connection between the school’s different missions. The work against bullying and to promote good relations among students has to penetrate all subject teaching, throughout the school activities. This way we can create a safe and secure learning environment including good academic performances, says Jacob Flärdh Aspegren, head of Friends’ research and development department.

Bullying is also a high risk factor in order not to pass grades. Among children who have been exposed to bullying at some time during the measurement period, the risk of fail grades in basic subjects increases by 75 percentage. However, the effects of bullying differs between boys and girls. Among boys, it is the perpetrators, the bullies, who run a higher risk of not obtaining pass grades. On the contrary, victimization creates higher risks among girls.

The third factor explored in this study is absenteeism, truancy. Also here, the effects are apparent. More truancy increases the risk of obtaining fail grades. For girls however, involvement in bullying is a greater risk factor than absenteeism in school. Among boys, absenteeism in school is a greater risk factor than any form of involvement in bullying.

Friends suggests the following measures:

  • The government strengthens the Swedish School Authorities’ mission to gather, develop and disseminate practical and pedagogical useful knowledge and methods. The authorities are called on to be more explicit in their support to the schools.
  • All school owners need to improve their analysis, resource allocation, support and monitoring process, both when taking measures as well as in the preventative work and in efforts to promote a safe and secure school. The increased demands also require the owner to clarify for the schools that this is prioritized work.
  • The work for children’s right to a safe and secure school environment can never be reduced to a specific time, a specific work group or a specific mission. There is a need for more support to and better knowledge exchange on how the value-based work can permeate the entire school day, both within as well as between the owner of the school and the school itself.

Read the complete report (in Swedish). The English version will be published in the beginning of 2018.

OCT 2017
Friends Report 2017: One in four children are exposed to degrading treatment in Swedish schools
OCT 2017
We are taking a Whole Community Approach against Bullying and Discrimination
AUG 2017
Friend’s Online Report 2017
JUN 2017
Friends’ Online Training Course for Adults
MAY 2017
The Success of the First World Anti-Bullying Forum
JAN 2017
New Research Project with Linköping University
JAN 2017
Friends implements safety initiative for schools in Hälsingland

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