NEW YORK & PALO ALTO, Calif. — Facebook and Time Warner Inc. are forming a joint initiative called “Stop Bullying: Speak Up” — a multi-media campaign that will combine and expand upon both companies’ individual anti-bullying efforts.
The “Stop Bullying: Speak Up” campaign was originally launched by Time Warner-owned Cartoon Network in October 2010, when the network’s audience research demonstrated that young people felt bullying was a problem, “but it was one they felt they could change if someone would show them how,” Alice Cahn, Cartoon Network’s VP of Social Responsibility, tells Campus Safety.
Cartoon Network assembled a group of expert advisors, including Dr. Susan Limber from Clemson University; Dr. Ron Slaby, Senior Scientist, Education Development Center; Capt. Stephanie Bryn, US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resource Service Administration; and Kevin Jennings, who was then with U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.
Bystanders Encouraged to Address Bullying
“With their guidance, we decided to focus on motivating our audience to become active bystanders when witnessing bullying,” Cahn explains. “Eighty-five percent of the young people involved in bullying incidents are the ones watching it happen; by demonstrating how to safely ‘speak up’ we have the potential to reach the largest segment of the audience involved.”
The network’s new partnership with Facebook, Cahn says, will allow the campaign to reach a larger population through Facebook’s Family Safety Center.
The Family Safety Center, which can be found online here, “offers new safety resources for parents, educators, teens and members of the law enforcement community,” Andrew Noyes, Facebook’s manager of public policy communications says. Currently, the center provides educational videos, external resources from experts, and downloadable materials on online safety.
“Over time, we’ll continue to invest significant time, energy and money in adding content and tools to our Safety Center so it will always be growing and improving,” Noyes adds.
Social Media Site Also Addressing the Issue
Facebook also launched the Facebook Safety Page in July 2010. The page, which can be found here, showcases dynamic content to complement the resources in the Safety Center, and includes educational materials from Facebook’s Safety Advisory Board — of which Childnet International, The Family Online Safety Institute, Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely and WiredSafety are members.
Earlier this spring, Facebook introduced a new social reporting tool at the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention.
“We’ve always offered a comprehensive system for people to report content to us, which has been effective at keeping inappropriate content off the site,” Noyes explains. “We simply added a unique feature, developed with safety experts, that lets people also report content to someone in their support system — like a parent or teacher — who may be able to address the issue more directly.”
Schools Encouraged to Use Materials
Cartoon Network also offers anti-bullying materials, which “Schools are more than welcome to use…in ways that meet their needs,” Cahn says. “Our PSA’s, available at no charge on our Web site, are currently being used in school news reports, as part of morning announcements, as classroom discussion starters, and at student and parent assemblies. Additionally, our tip sheets can be reproduced for classroom use or sent home to parents; and the parent component of our Web site has further resources that educators and parents can access from partner organizations such as Stop Bullying Now, PACER, GLSEN and the Anti-Defamation League.”
The “Stop Bullying: Speak Up” campaign will also include CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360° Town Hall — a televised discussion on bullying scheduled to air in October as part of Bullying Prevention month — and expansive coverage on bullying and innovative programs and measures designed to combat it by PEOPLE, Sports Illustrated and TIME magazines.
Facebook is also scheduled to launch the “Stop Bullying: Speak Up” Social Pledge App in Fall 2011 to “enable educators, parents, and kids to make a personal commitment — and recruit others to join them — to help stop bullying,” Noyes says.
Parents, Students, Schools Must Take Responsibility
“Online safety is a responsibility shared amongst parents, teachers, teens, policy makers and services like Facebook,” he adds. “We strive to be as innovative when it comes to safety as we are in every other part of our business. We hope our tools, features, and awareness campaigns will make a difference.”
“Stopping bullying is an issue of concern in schools and communities around the world; and collaborative efforts at prevention are what will make the difference,” Cahn says. “Schools can take a leadership position in galvanizing their communities to create change.
“‘Stop Bullying: Speak Up’ is a long-term commitment and priority for Cartoon Network. Bullying is a serious concern for our target audience of young people; and it’s a concern they want to, and believe they can, address,” she adds. “They trust our brand to provide them with useful information in a way that speaks directly to them. And according to our research, we are consistently delivering on that promise.”
For more information on the Stop Bullying: Speak Up campaign, visit Cartoon Network’s Web site.