Guide to SKOPJE

“Bully“ – A true story from our neighborhood


The violence among children and teenagers has shifted from the schools and the streets to the social networks. The Internet has become a space for teasing, intimidation and ridicule. This problematic is the main theme of the four-minute animated movie “Bully”, developed by the foundation “Metamorphosis”, within the project “Privacy on the Internet in an easy way“. The film is for teenagers and has versions in six languages: Macedonian, English, Albanian, Turkish, Roma and French. We talked with Irina Shumadieva, project coordinator in “Metamorphosis” about the idea for the film “Bully” and the cyberbullying as a phenomenon that is gaining momentum among the young people.

How common is the story shown in the movie “Bully” in the reality? Is it possible to make a comparison between the countries of the region with the countries of Western Europe and the United States?

– The story is actually based on real events that we have heard it from the students during the meetings with them where we usually discuss these and other issues concerning their safety online. It’s actually a typical scenario, which probably would look even worse in reality. This story has a happy ending so it can be both realistic and instructive and actually it shows the recommended scenario according to which the victim should act in a situation like this. In reality, unfortunately, only 20-30% say that they have been the victim of cyberbullying.

Many will remember the kid from Star Wars that has recorded himself in the school while reproducing a scene from the Star Wars, waving a golf club imagining its a sword. Once his friends discovered the video and put it on the Internet, it quickly spread out, counting 900 million hits in the period from 2003 to 2006. And now we are talking about the era before the advent of YouTube in 2005. So many reviews, comments and remixes were derived since than, so the young people  forget that while they make jokes on someone else’s account just to make their life  more interesting, they actually destroys somebody else life. Then, the boy named Ghyslain Raza had to complete his education in a psychiatric institution, and the case known originally as “The Star Wars Kid” is a phenomenon and the first case of mass consumed online video, and online privacy strongest distortion observed in the new era.

Can be locate the main reason for the growth of cyberbullying  in the rapid rise of the social networks and the massive “addiction” of the young people?

– Sure they have a big impact. Namely, if someone’s child is insulted or mocked on Facebook, while that is rarely read, the problem would be smaller, but knowing the power of the social networks in terms of the rapid expansion of the content that is shared through them and the fact that they have large number of users, makes the job much more serious. But here you have to add the fact that many children become users of social networks quite early and illegal (under the age limit), without being supervised by their parents or teachers. Also, the mobile phones that are already owned by 90% of the children who attend the higher grades in the primary school (according to the mini-research Metamorfozis2) added fuel to the fire. The cyberbullying that is present online is also intensively performed through mobile phone.

Are the victims of cyberbullying  mostly boys or girls? Is there a particular age group where this phenomenon is most common?

– The victims can be boys and girls equally, in that according to some statistics, women often report such cases. Most often this phenomenon occurs between the peers aged 12-17 years, but does not exclude the occurrence and beyond this age limit.

What could the victims do to protect themselves from the cyberbullying?

– First and foremost they should not be quiet about it. They need to inform the parents and then to visit the school authorities together with them,  if its a case that involves a classmate or more classmates. If there is some form of invasion of privacy on the Internet, they may address the Directorate for protection of personal data and in severe cases you need to contact the police. What is the most important thing in these cases is not to respond to the cyberbullying with violence, to report the inappropriate behavior and to keep all the evidence of abuse of the victim’s privacy and her reputation (e-mail messages, comments, SMS messages, video contents, photo montage etc..).