Who we are and what we do
THE STORY OF CARO
November 2012. Carolina Picchio, after a pizza with friends, locks herself in the bathroom of the hosting house: she is sick because of the alcohol and loses consciousness. A group of boys get into the bathroom and, surrounding her, simulate sexual acts with increasingly explicit behaviour and insinuations. Those scenes are filmed in a video intended to discredit her, “guilty”; of attending the, so-called, Novara high society.
Caro, everyone’s friend, always smiling and charismatic, finds herself at the centre of morbid and viral attention: at first the exchange in the chats among those who were there, and then the jump on social networks, as a target of insults and thousands of comments from people who did not even know her.
An unbearable burden to bear: in the night between 4th and 5th January 2013, the fragility of a teenager takes over and “Caro” takes her own life. Hate is anything but virtual, like her pain and suffering, and Carolina, desperate, throws herself out of her bedroom window.
One last selfie to greet a friend, then the farewell message, which over time has become a warning for entire generations. “Words hurt more than blows. What happened to me must no longer happen to anyone ”.
A complaint that breaks the silence: social networks were already changing our relationships, especially those between young people. Some of them had already known the bitter taste of cyberbullying, but Carolina collapses, and, with her, her joie de vivre dies out. First, however, she finds the strength to denounce, to name and to tell her story in a letter destined to change the relationship between the internet and adolescents.
A message that will allow the Juvenile Court of Turin to institute the first trial on cyberbullying in Italy, with exemplary convictions: the conduct, even “virtual”, which led Carolina to take her own life, cannot be classified as mere “bad actions”.
The trial, which ended in December 2018, clearly determined the unequivocal correlation between certain behaviours, some of which are criminal, and the phenomena of online bullying.
“Bullying … that’s it? You guys are so insensitive,” Caro writes. Words that Dad Picchio picks up and makes his own, tracing a path in the support of kids online safety, so that the pain that his daughter has felt, no one should feel it anymore. Carolina’s smile has become the icon of the fight against cyberbullying.
This is the story of the Carolina Foundation, which starts from pain but develops in joy. The joy of being young and “happy to surf“.
FOUNDATION – HAPPY TO SURF
In February 2018, Fondazione Carolina Onlus was founded on the occasion of World Internet Safety Day. The slogan and vision – “Happy to Surf” – represents the spirit that should distinguish all teenagers entering the digital world, entrusting the Web with their dreams, feelings and relationships during the most important journey of their lives: adolescence.
The Fondazione Carolina is home to the professionals and organisations who support Dad Picchio in his public commitment.
Fondazione Carolina has already become a point of reference for:
committed to spreading the correct, positive and conscious use of new technologies by minors. Kids and teenagers who, increasingly at an early age, expose themselves to the risks of digital experience, often without control and without fair shared rules.
Fondazione Carolina’s head office is in Milan, but the professionals, educators and partners of the non-profit organisation work all over the country. The Foundation provides support for families, schools and the community, to guarantee parents, educators and all those who have educational responsibilities, the rights to:
- Be protected and informed
- Receive care and recovery
- Live in a safe digital world
The Foundation’s main branch of activities are:
Fondazione Carolina is an official partner of the Italian Ministry of Education.
THE LAW 71/2017
“To protect minors for the prevention and fight against cyberbullying”
The first law in Europe on cyberbullying, which was unanimously approved on 17 May 2017 and came into force a year later (June 2018), is dedicated to Carolina.
On Wednesday 17 May 2017, shortly after 1 p.m., the Chamber of Deputies voted unanimously and the President of the Chamber, Laura Boldrini, dedicated the approval to Paolo Picchio and his daughter Carolina to the applause of the Chamber.
Two years of civil commitment, testimony, appeals where Caro’s father, Paolo Picchio, has been engaged relentlessly. Not only to do justice to the beloved daughter but to give meaning and respond to that last message from her daughter: “I hope you are now more sensitive to words …”. A hope to be supported with a strong, broad and structured body, capable of meeting the most important educational challenge of the third millennium: digital citizenship education of the new generations.