Using the quality circle approach to empower disadvantaged youth in addressing cyberbullying: An exploration across five European countries

Jayne Hamilton*, Noel Purdy, Roy A. Willems, Peter K. Smith, Catherine Culbert, Antonella Brighi, Nora Fiedler, Annalisa Guarini, Consuelo Mameli, Damiano Menin, Herbert Scheithauer, Trijntje Völlink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)


Digital communication technologies play an important role in the social development of young people, but can create vulnerabilities to cyberbullying and other negative online experiences. The Blurred Lives project aimed to tackle cyber-bullying innovatively using a co-participatory approach, col-laborating with 14–16-year olds living in areas of socio- economic disadvantage in five European countries. In phase one, 2,658 teenagers were surveyed on their internet use and any unpleasant online experiences. This data informed the second phase where the participating countries worked together with 237 adolescents across 10 schools with adult facilitators to create original anti-cyberbullying resources for teachers, parents/carers, peers, and social media providers using the Quality Circle approach. This methodology adopts an ethos of working together to solve a problem in small, peer-led groups. Each group was tasked with creating a resource for one of the target audience groups. The final resources comprise a rich variety of different formats includ-ing videos, comic strips, a board game, leaflets, posters, and newsletters. The pupil feedback highlights, for most but not all participants, an increased knowledge of cyberbullying and e-safety skills, as well as enhanced problem-solving skills, levels of confidence, and group work skills. Several opera-tional challenges are also discussed, including the impor-tance of school-level support, planning, staffing, and finding an appropriate balance between facilitator support and pupil agency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-272
Number of pages19
JournalPastoral Care in Education
Issue number3
Early online date2 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020


  • Co-participation
  • Cyberbullying
  • Quality Circles
  • Social disadvantage
  • adolescencents
  • adolescents
  • co-participation
  • cyberbullying
  • quality circles
  • social disadvantage


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