Facebook App Seeks to Stop Bullying, Support Schools in Prevention Efforts

With the Stop Bullying: Speak Up social pledge app, Facebook and Time Warner hope to start a national conversation about bullying and support schools in their bullying prevention efforts.

by / September 22, 2011 0

With the Stop Bullying: Speak Up social pledge app, Facebook and Time Warner hope to start a national conversation about bullying and support schools in their bullying prevention efforts.

The pledges for students and adults seek to get everyone on the same page about what they can do to stop bullying. And two actions are crucial to solving this issue: help stop and prevent bullying, and create a culture where bullying is not acceptable behavior, said Alice Cahn, Cartoon Network's vice president for social responsibility.

The Cartoon Network is reaching kids with this message when they come to the network for entertainment and are open to receiving new messages, either online or on TV. And Facebook is reaching out to adults and teens with the same consistent message that they can become active witnesses to help prevent bullying rather than bystanders.

"What I hope will come out is the beginnings of a national conversation about this issue with everyone having the same information about strategies and tactics to begin addressing this problem."

Since the app launched on Sunday, a few days before the second annual federal Bullying Prevention Summit, more than 16,000 people have taken the pledge to help stop bullying. Of those, about 3,000 were students. Most of the pledges have come from residents of New York and California, according to the app's interactive map.

The pledge for adults emphasizes modeling proper behavior and supporting schools in their bullying-prevention efforts:

  • I will speak up — I will take a stand about this issue, even before it touches my friends and family, so everyone knows I take it seriously.
  •  I will advocate — I will advocate for children, both my own and others, in need of my help. I will support quality bullying prevention training for all school staff so everyone can effectively help our children.
  • I will be a role model — I will show kids how to deal with conflicts by setting the standard with my own behavior.
  • I will be a partner — I will work with schools, parents, caretakers, coaches, and others working hard to stop bullying, especially if they report my child is involved.

And the pledge for students focuses on what they can do to stand up for bullying:

  • I will speak up — I will take a stand when I see kids humiliating or hurting each other. I will talk about bullying with my friends and the adults in my life, so everyone knows I think it's wrong.
  • I will advocate — I will stick up for others who might be in need of my help, and not just my closest friends.
  • I will be a role model — I will not use my phone or computer to spread rumors or say hateful things, and I won't ignore it when others are cruel and intimidating.

"It's terrific that we are giving students the tactics they need to help protect themselves and to feel safe at school and in their community, but wouldn't it be that much better if we didn't need to teach these kids these skills because this kind of behavior didn't happen? So that's the ultimate goal," Cahn said.

Along with these pledges, people can create or join groups through the app for their school. The campaign hopes that a student, a teacher or school counselor, and a parent will lead these groups to speak up against bullying.

And both Facebook and Time Warner want to support teachers, administrators and all school staff so they have the skills and training to deal with bullying.

"Really that's all we think about: Making sure that people have the skills they need and the support they need to address this issue."

Tanya Roscorla Former Managing Editor

Tanya Roscorla covered ed tech from 2009-2017.