“Promise the Lord that you will never do this, and you will not permit it to be done in your school, in your school, in your neighborhood. Is that understood?”
It was not a casual message for the Pope. The bullying problem on social networks worries him to the point that the Vatican will create an International Observatory.
In April, he hopes to present the conclusions of a triple study that will measure how the children themselves perceive the phenomenon, how the governments face this problem and how he will establish prevention plans.
The project is supported by two entities: “Scholas Occurrentes,” the international network of 440,000 schools promoted by the Pope, and the “Carolina Foundation.” This Italian organization was born after Carolina Picchio's suicide. She was a 14-year-old girl who couldn't stand to be the target of ridicule on social networks.
Carolina's father said in an interview, “I didn't understand why Carolina took her own life. She was a beautiful, intelligent, sporty young woman. Why? Unfortunately they pierced her. She was pierced not only by the videos they posted of her on social networks, but also by the thousands of insults the network spewed at her.”
Cyberbullying is growing at an overwhelming rate. In the U.S., 28 percent of students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying in 2011, according to the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics. A 2007 survey from C.P Bradshaw's School Psychology Review showed that approximately 30 percent of young people in the U.S. admit to bullying others.
Source: Rome Reports.