HUNGARY'S ANTI-BULLYING PROGRAM (EN)
(Megfélemlítés Elleni Program) (MEP) is Hungary’s first and only anti-bullying / cyberbullying program. Its goal is to prevent and stop bullying, cyberbullying in schools, at work and in relationships.
The public’s knowledge of online predatory practices and how to prevent them is limited. The public lacks understanding of Responsible Digital Citizenship and related concepts. The understanding about the behaviour of bullying and cyberbullying by the teachers’, students’ and parents’ is extremely low, and they do not have the information nor the ability to effectively address such behaviours. A large part of society does not think the irresponsible use of the internet presents real dangers and believes that bullying is an acceptable part of growing up (including cyberbullying).
MEP was developed by the Public Foundation for a Responsible Society in 2013 January in response to the absence of programs addressing the increasing occurrence of bullying and cyberbullying in Hungary.
The program strives to educate the public on Responsible Digital Citizenship in order to prevent the victimisation of online users. It seeks to change attitude and values in dealing with and witnessing bullying, cyberbullying and cybercrime. In addition to potential targets, communication focuses on bystanders and witnesses to act and break their silence to create a crime-unfriendly environment.
The program was developed combining international best practices. It was then adjusted to local social and economic specifics and validated by industry leaders prior to pilot and national rollout.
MEP is divided into two major elements: the Event Handling and Institutional elements.
The Event Handling element includes: prevention practices, education and training and information segments on how to prevent, recognise the effects of and handle bullying and cyberbullying as well as the organisation segment at implementation. Besides preventive communication to the potential target, getting the bystanders and witnesses to report bullying cyberbullying and cybercrime is also priority, thus lifting most responsibility off the targets and victims. An application called the Anti-Bullying Integrated Solutions (ABIS) aids online reporting, proof and documentation and monitoring.
Strong emphasis is placed on preventing introductory behaviours by teaching effective and aggression free communication. In the efforts of preventing the development of bullying and cyberbullying, introductory behaviours such as school violence and aggression are also handled via mediation, conflict resolution. Restorative practices are applied to restore the initial (pre-aggression) state.
The Institutional element conducted in parallel with the Event Handling element focuses on raising public awareness, obtaining funding and government lobbying in order to prioritise national rollout and sustainability. Legislative lobbying is conducted in order to amend the necessary laws and regulations as well as to introduce new anti-bullying and cyberbullying laws. The programs legal task team comprised of 9 lawyers and professionals are helping to draft the necessary legislative proposals to fix legal shortcomings and gaps.
In order to most effectively implement and manage change in values, attitude, organisation and processes. the program implementation strategy follows the PRINCE2 project management methodology and standard Change Management practices.
Implementation strategy addresses organisation, process and policy changes. The PMO (program management office) closely works together with the local schools and organisations to change house rules and policies, to provide staff the necessary tool to handle situations.
Content-based training to teachers, program champions and liaisons is the first step in engaging the school body. School-wide large presentations are carried out followed by smaller theme and discussion based interactive presentations in the classrooms. Information packets, handbooks and curriculum examples are distributed and information posters are placed in the buildings throughout.
Once the initial introductory events took place, under the guidance of the PMO, the program can be implemented and monitored.
The program places an overwhelming effort on prevention, on changing attitude, values, while providing information on how to exercise diligence, caution and behave responsibly in life and online in order to avoid negative situations. However, it is recognised that no prevention effort is perfect. Therefore the program also addresses situations once the problem already happened. Trainings include advise on how to recognise targets and victims by recognising the effects of bullying and cyberbullying. Trainers also teach how to effectively handle those situations.
All presentations and training sessions drive to eradicate complacency and to motivate bystanders and witnesses to get active, report situations and offer constructive help in any investigation, thus creating a crime-unfriendly environment.
The project strives to change the school environment and the attitude regarding bullying and cyberbullying. It motivates bystanders to step up against and report bullying in school and online, thus creating an insecure environment for the bully. The ABIS (Anti-Bullying Integrated Solutions) application allows for easy documentation and reporting bullying, further deterring the bully from committing his actions in school or online.
The education element of the project teaches about responsible digital citizenship, how to behave online, the Do’s and Dont’s on what to post, what to comment and share online. It informs about rights and legal consequences.
As a preventive measure part of the project educates students on Effective Communication in order to avoid misunderstandings, Mediation and Conflict Resolution in order to peacefully solve conflict and restore balance, as well as tolerance regarding people with different economic and social status, religion, sexual preference, physical appearance and ability and disability.
The social (societal) element of the project involves an institutional approach, where a wider level of marketing, PR, news articles, blogs, Radio and TV interviews brings the anti-bullying and cyberbullying message and information on Responsible Digital Citizenship to the public. Information on Responsible Digital Citizenship covers online behaviour from safe internet connections to sharing personal information online and the responsible behaviour on social sites.
Our communication is focused to motivate adults not to accept bullying and cyberbullying in school, at work, in relationships at home and in public. The communication element of the program educates on the effects of cyberbullying, and the legal consequences of the methods of bullying, cyberbullying such as harassment, libel and the defamation of character and the illegal use of pictures and intellectual property.
The project hosts a number of public and professional conferences about the topic. It published and distributed the following materials for the public for free.
Anti-bullying and cyberbullying handbook, Hungary’s first handbook on the topic,
Information brochures for adults on cyberbullying
Information brochures for adults on bullying in general
Information brochures for students on bullying and cyberbullying
Posters and other printed PR commercial materials such as molinos, stickers, etc.
The creation of the project had three main reasons. Its main goal is to fill a gap on anti-bullying and cyberbullying initiatives in Hungary. MEP is the first and to-date ONLY anti-bullying program in Hungary, stepping up against bullying and cyberbullying in schools, at the workplace, in relationships, and in the public life.
In partnership with the European Prevention Institute, the project focuses on the prevention of crime.. It shines light on a double-standard mentality regarding prevention, where society can exercise diligence and sufficient preventive measure in certain areas (such as not parking in dark streets, brushing teeth, etc,) and totally neglect prevention in others, completely relying on reactive measures, addressing the problems, once they already happened.
Our mission is to aid society in a progressive and positive evolution to behave responsibly and to be more tolerant. The increasing extreme behaviour in society deems necessary those prevention projects which can educate people to be more constructive and responsible. This is why the first phase of the project targeted the education element in grade and high schools, as such social behaviour is best formed in the school years.
The project established a starting base by measuring the public’s knowledge, perception and occurrence of various criteria related to bullying, cyberbullying and responsible digital citizenship. The first and only anti-bullying survey conducted by the foundation was sponsored by the Hungarian Media and News Authority, and it measured the students’, teachers’ and parents’:
knowledge about bullying and cyberbullying,
the parents’ teachers’ awareness of their children and students behaviour online,
attitude towards bullying and cyberbullying,
knowledge of appropriate online behaviour,
frequency of committing bullying online and online,
frequency of being a target of bullying and cyberbullying,
knowledge of various online predatory practices,
familiarity of terminology,
knowledge of various solutions once the problem already happened.
The results of the survey are published at the
Upon national implementation, the main objective of the project is:
to educate the public about bullying and cyberbullying
Effectively recognise bullying and harassing behaviour in real life and online
form public opinion to condemn such negative behaviour
Educate to prevent the victimisation of online users and students and public figures from becoming targets of online trolling and cyberbullying.
Efficiently stop bullying and cyberbullying situations
Secondary (mid/long-term) objective is to form public opinion about predatory online behaviour, about purposeful distribution of mis/disinformation online, and about other negative online behaviour displayed while expressing opinions on political, social and economic positions. Overall, help to develop a more tolerant and progressive social attitude in Hungary.
Process evaluations were carried out on local levels by the school administrators outside of the Program Management Office (PMO).
The evaluations were based on the feedback of the project champions, teachers, students and the appointed project liaison. They took into account the preventive measures and the positive change of environment. They also included feedback on reactive measures, specific incidents handled with the aid of the project organisation and the ABIS tool.
On program level, an internal process evaluation was also carried out by the PMO comparing a number of different institutions and their way of relating to the project.
Trainers and training content was evaluated via questionnaires.
Presentations and presentation content was evaluated questionnaires.
The overall evaluations yielded very positive results, and the projects were continued post-pilot into the stabilisation phase.
The evaluation resulted in Lessons Learned, which can be used to further improve implementation processes taking local specifics into account.
In addition to the mid-impact survey conducted by Dr. Parti Katalin at the National Criminology Institute, pilot-end impact evaluation was conducted internally by the school administrators outside of the Program Management Office (PMO).
Final impact evaluation under this program can only be carried out once the stabilisation period is completed.
The anti-bullying and anti-cyberbullying project took international best practices into account and compiled a program solely built on best practices. The project includes not just a professional element dealing with bullying and cyberbullying, but it also includes a project management and a change management element and mirrors a corporate like project development, implementation and management process for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
It aims to effect change on a professionally managed level.
Another unique element to the project is that it is divided into two focus parts. The Event Handling element dealing with local implementation, and the Institutional element, which targets to impact change on national and social level and involves a lobbying factor to impact change on a legislative level.
The two elements working in parallel, taking the professional implementation approach in mind, can ensure a successful nationwide implementation sustainability not just in schools, but in other organisations impacted by workplace bullying and public bullying.
Anti-Bullying Integrated Solutions (ABIS) offers the ability for online and app reporting, dashboard in-house recognition, monitoring, process execution and communication.
MEP Partners are
The Public Foundation for a Responsible Society, program creator
Hungarian National Crime Prevention Council, strategic and training partner for content, program development, implementation and rollout.
Hungarian National Media and News Authority sponsored the base and mid-impact surveys, sponsored and hosted the 2015 anti-bullying professional media conference.
The European Prevention Institute, strategic partner for content, program development, implementation and rollout.
Budapest Police Headquarters – Crime Prevention Division, strategic and training partner for content, program development, implementation and rollout.
ESZTER Foundation, strategic partner for content
Eötvös Loránd University – Organised and conducted the CM program validation workshop
Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic (Internship program)
Hanns Seidel Foundation, key sponsor of professional conferences, printed materials and handbooks
Hungarian Ministry of Justice, co-championed the first anti-bullying and cyberbullying day and concert.
The project is solely funded by the Public Foundation for a Responsible Society. Professionals work on a combined volunteer and commission structure (depending on the volume of work).
Printing and distribution of materials are partly are done case-by-case basis and are commissioned by the Budapest Police, National Crime Prevention Council, The Hanns Seidel Foundation and the Hungarian National Media and News Authority.
The project did not use Hungarian or European grants. Implementations are jointly supported by the Foundation, Implementing Institutions and training partners.
Cost-Benefit analysis is not applicable at this time. The project must run at least 5 years, before basic social impact can be measured.
The project is suitable for most European implementation. However some adjustments will most likely have to be made for each local implementation.
The project content and program approach must be validated in each state via a local group of professionals to ensure the Change Management local acceptance milestone (buy-in) criteria. This entails 2 high-level university led workshop in each country.
Depending on country/region, pragmatic content and strategy changes may be required depending on social, infrastructural differences as a result of the workshops
Bullying, cyberbullying and cybercrime is a global element. As societal differences increase due to economic, social, national and other differences, paired with the cyber-tools and applications increasingly becoming cheaper and more available, special attention should be dedicated to help to inform the public on their responsible use. Europe and its member states are no exception to this global phenomenon.
We must inform and educate so our values can evolve with the technological advances in order to prevent cybercrime.
The program was developed combining international best practices. It was then adjusted to local social and economic specifics for implementation and sustainability. Then a professional validation workshop of industry leaders and professionals was organised by the Eötvös Loránd University prior to pilot.