This is the government's "top priority". This Wednesday, September 27, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and Minister of National Education Gabriel Attal present an interministerial plan to fight against school bullying. A scourge that affects about one million students each year in France. And who kills.
At the beginning of September, in the Yvelines, Nicolas, 15 years old, committed suicide after having suffered long months of ordeal. Last May, Lindsay, 13, harassed by several classmates from her college in Pas-de-Calais, committed suicide. Like too many other teenagers, the insults and threats suffered by the girl did not stop at the doors of her school: they invaded social networks. To tackle cyberbullying, the government is considering the introduction of a "digital curfew". A device with still blurred contours and unproven effectiveness.
A measure based on the responsibility of parents
This measure, "would prohibit for example the use of social networks from 18 p.m. to 8 a.m.," explained the Ministry of Education to Le Parisien earlier this week, and would be pronounced by a juvenile judge at the time when a legal procedure would open. The teenager concerned will not be banned from social networks or the internet. It will be up to his parents to enforce this prohibition. In the event that this curfew 3.0 is not respected and the teenager continues to harass a comrade, the judge "may take it into account and pronounce a ban," added the rue de Grenelle.
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On the other hand, no details at this stage have been given, neither on the duration of this ban, nor on the potential cooperation of social networks popular with teenagers such as TikTok, Snapchat or Instagram. The same goes for the way to verify that the teenager is indeed complying with his sanction. Will it be enough for him to create a new account to slip through the cracks?
Other methods are more effective"
Radical on paper, this measure could therefore be easily hijacked by the young people concerned. Above all, "it will not be effective if the teenager does not understand the root of the problem and does not put himself in the place of the victim," says Florence Rouas, a skeptical lawyer at the juvenile branch of the Paris Bar, and who works in particular on cases of school bullying. In addition, she explains, this device could "create even more frustration and aggressiveness".
"When it comes to harassment, other methods are more effective. There is nothing better than preventive measures, empathy classes or role plays, "adds Florence Rouas, who also advocates the method of shared concern, consisting of talking to the harasser to make him aware of what he does to his victim.