AuthorsSara Tonelli (Fondazione Bruno Kessler – FBK), Sophie Smit (European Schoolnet – EUN)

The KID_ACTIONS project focuses on addressing the issue of cyberbullying among children and adolescents through interactive education and gamification. Although cyberbullying might seem as a very specific research topic, the amount of research has increased widely the last decades and is multidisciplinary (Chan, Cheun, Lee, 2021; Smith, 2019). This article will give a brief description of recent relevant publications for the KID_ACTIONS project.

Research emerges from different fields and perspectives, such as, the field of psychology, communication but also in the field of information systems. The increase in research is often explained by the prevalence and consequences of cyberbullying (Chan, Cheun, Lee, 2021). Researchers acknowledge the serious psychosocial health consequences victims of cyberbullying might experience (Dehue, 2012). Being the victim of cyberbullying is associated with lower self-esteem, higher stress levels, anxiety, loneliness, emotional problems, and depression, to name a few (Kowalski, Giumetti, Lattanner & Schroeder, 2014; Betts, 2016). The dynamic nature of cyberbullying makes it challenging to get a good understanding of the concept. Cyberbullying develops quickly together with fast digital development of technologies (Rizza & Pereira, 2013). It is therefore important to conduct research on the intersection of the different research fields where the most recent information can be used to prevent, detect, and combat cyberbullying. Interdisciplinary research can offer new insights on how to use the fast-developing technologies in the battle against cyberbullying. This article will give a brief description of recent relevant publications for the KID_ACTIONS project. The articles mentioned below can be found on the publications page on the KID_ACTIONS website.

In the last months, four new scientific contributions related to KID ACTIONS have been published and presented at major IT conferences. The first work, Challenges in Designing Games with a Purpose for Abusive Language Annotation, authored by Federico Bonetti and Sara Tonelli, deals with the challenges faced in the development of games with a purpose with the goal to raise awareness on cyberbullying in adolescents. Among the main challenges, we have identified the need to use a graphics style and a setting that is appealing for teens, the importance of having customizable avatars, taking into account diverse players, and the need to protect users’ privacy. These findings will all be included in the design of the KID ACTIONS platform.

The second work, Fine-Grained Fairness Analysis of Abusive Language Detection Systems with CheckListis, authored by Marta Marchiori Manerba and Sara Tonelli, and introduces some guidelines and a tool to understand whether systems for abusive language detection present any bias, targeting specific minorities or vulnerable groups. Again, this study will be useful when social media posts will be analysed to detect harassing or cyberbullying behaviours within KID ACTIONS.

The other work, Agreeing to Disagree: Annotating Offensive Language Datasets with Annotators’ Disagreement, authored by Elisa Leonardelli, Stefano Menini, Alessio Palmero Aprosio, Marco Guerini and Sara Tonelli, introduces the problem of disagreement when human annotators are asked to judge whether a message is offensive or not. Several analyses are also presented, aimed at understanding the impact of ambiguous messages on the performance of abusive language detection systems, and what are the best approaches to take disagreement into account when building datasets and classification systems. This work will be presented at the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, which is a top venue for works related to text analysis and the development of linguistic resources.

Finally, a work on gamification, Measuring Orthogonal Mechanics in Linguistic Annotation Games, authored by Federico Bonetti and Sara Tonelli has been presented at CHI Play, the most important international conference devoted to digital games and human-computer interaction. The work introduces a novel framework to investigate the mechanics employed in games with a purpose (GWAPs) and their complexity. This framework is particularly important when GWAPs are developed with the goal to engage young users mimicking mainstream video games like we plan to do in KID ACTIONS.

Visit the publications page to view and download publications.

Image credit: mohamed_hassan, on pixabay.