Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


EU Funding To Help Beat School Bullies


The problem of bullying in schools is being tackled by a innovative computer software ‘drama’ developed with the help of 1.24 million euros from the Information Society Technologies (IST) area of the EU’s Framework Funding Programme.

The VICTEC project is aimed at children between the ages of eight to twelve and uses self-animating 3D characters to create improvised dramas in a virtual school. The viewer is then asked to help one of the characters to deal with the problems they are facing.

“Unfortunately, bullying does occur in many situations both inside and outside of schools today” says project coordinator Professor Ruth Aylett, from Salford University. “VICTEC takes eLearning into Personal and Social Education, where attitudes and emotions are more important than pure knowledge. The project uses believable synthetic characters and narrative to help build a relationship between them and the individual user. In particular, the VICTEC FearNot! demonstrator tackles the problems of bullying and allows children to explore ways of dealing with it, such as ignoring the bully, hitting back or telling someone, in a non-threatening Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

Users run through five episodes of bullying, interacting with one of the characters on each occasion by offering advice, and should come away with an understanding of the possibilities of escaping the situation. Because the software can be used at any time, it is less disruptive of school timetables and less costly than traditional anti-bullying drama groups.

“FearNot! is unique in Europe in using 3D graphical characters for personal and social interaction”, adds Professor Aylett. “Most European projects aimed at children rely on websites. However, we don’t want the kids to see this as a game, so our characters are expressive - although we have given them a cartoon-like form, rather than making them too naturalistic because psychological studies show that people may find almost naturalistic synthetic characters unnerving. However there is no magic wand to stop bullying and we do not offer one, though we do emphasise the only action everyone agrees on, which is to tell somebody you trust. "The VICTEC project has been very successful so far and has developed both technology and a deeper understanding of the psychological issues, especially in the field of empathy."

The software is still evolving but has already been evaluated by more than 400 children in an event held in June 2004. There is also close contact with the leading charity in this field, ChildLine. Project partners are working on expanding the range of characters and episodes and improving the user interaction, which is limited by technology to speech or text.

“I cannot think of a more worthwhile use of European Funding than projects such as VICTEC”, says Peter Walters, FP6UK’s National Contact Point for Information Society Technologies. “It is both an investment in dealing with a serious social problem and a way of investing in the development of our children to become part of a more sympathetic and tolerant society.

“The current Framework Programme (FP6) runs until 2006 and organisations wanting free information on how to access some of the €19bn available should log on to or call central telephone support on 0870 600 6080.”

Dave Sanders | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

The gene of autumn colours

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Polymer scaffolds build a better pill to swallow

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>