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The Vatican joins in the fight to stop cyberbullying

2014-12-09

Younger generations are connected 24/7 on their computers and hand phones. But with the rise of social media, the darker side of the internet, also gains strength. From cyberbullying to child pornography. 

FR. FORTUNATO DI NOTO
President of METER Association (Italy)
"It's a modern form of slavery. There are children who have already been abused. On top of that, they're often video or photographed. The images are uploaded on the internet, which just multiplies the abuse over and over.” 

No one knows this better then Laetitia Chanut. She was severely depressed, and even attempted suicide years ago, after she was repeatedly harassed online. Pictures from her real online account were stolen and used on sites that promote porn. 

LAETITIA CHANUT
Cyberbullying Victim
"I consider myself an ex-victim. Now I look at things differently though. I've matured and evolved. It's an experience I still live through, but thanks to these associations, I try to see the positive side now.” 

The Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is joining the fight against cyberbullying and abuse. Along with a French group named  L'Enfance, it's promoting an online petition titled 'Stop Threats on the Internet.' So far it has 10,000 signatures. 

FR. FORTUNATO DI NOTO
President of METER Association (Italy)
"What people do in the virtual world is real. It has real consequences in people's personal lives. It can lead to serious depression, suicide attempts and in some cases even suicide.”

In Europe alone, it's estimated that one out of three young people have been victims of cyberbullying, be it through threats, rumors, gossip or insults. 

The campaign also calls on parents, teachers and adults in general to be aware of this reality, so they can help stop this dangerous trend. 


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