Researchers from the University of Bedfordshire have worked with Universities UK (UUK) to develop new guidance aimed at helping universities prevent and respond to all forms of online harassment.
The guidance issued today (date) Changing the Culture: Tackling online harassment and promoting online welfare [LINK to full report], uses evidence from the Bedfordshire Cyber Awareness Programme developed by University’s National Centre for Cyberstalking Research (NCCR).
Dr Emma Short, Director of the NCCR and a Reader in Cyberpsychology said: “Universities should not assume that students always recognise abusive online behaviour or feel equipped to respond to it, there is a clear responsibility to safeguard students both from abuse, and the perpetration of abuse through a lack of awareness.”
While conducting the research to create this guidance, many universities highlighted the inherent complexity of addressing online harassment as various social media platforms are used extensively by students as part of everyday life.
Dr Short said: “The Bedfordshire Cyber Awareness Programme was designed to create a positive culture change, aiming to achieve an increase in understanding about what constitutes unacceptable online behaviour and promote a greater preparedness to seek help when encountering it.
“Our initial findings did indicate a general tolerance of negative behaviours and a minimisation of possible risks, but changes in attitudes following the training were achieved. Most people indicated the course had increased their readiness and willingness to take action if they witnessed harmful online interactions.”
Bedfordshire was awarded catalyst grant funding by the Office for Students to develop the Bedfordshire Cyber Awareness Programme and it forms a vital part of the University’s Peer Assisted Learning Leaders (PAL) training.
🚨 NEW guidance— Universities UK (@UniversitiesUK) September 2, 2019
How should universities prevent and respond to all forms of online harassment?
UUK is working with our members to bring about change
👉 Our recommendations https://t.co/U8ZNydZNmT #UUKTackling pic.twitter.com/YAqcq3rtMd
The UUK guidance for universities includes principles and detailed recommendations for universities.
Some of the recommendations the guidance calls on universities to follow include:
The guidance is an extension of UUK’s work to help universities tackle harassment, hate crime and gender-based violence.
OfCom reports that 99% of 16-24 year olds in the UK use social media at least weekly.
According to Ditch the Label’s annual bullying survey*, 69% of all respondents said they had been abusive towards another person online.
*Ditch the Label holds one of the largest datasets on online bullying and young people.
The University of Bedfordshire has turned up the heat within its environmental chamber to help an athlete prepare for a gruelling 153 mile race in Greece’s unforgiving temperatures.
The University of Bedfordshire and Holmes Education Group have signed an agreement to open a new international college at the University’s Luton campus (Tue 10 September).
The University of Bedfordshire will be offering advice and guidance to potential students at the MK Job Show on 13-14 September.
During office hours
+44 (0)1234 400 400
Outside office hours
+44 (0)1582 74 39 89
University of Bedfordshire
UK, LU1 3JU