A new partnership between Facebook and Time Warner aims to expand the companies’ individual efforts to prevent online bullying. The initiative, called “Stop Bullying: Speak Up,” will combine broadcast, print, online, and social media outlets to get parents, teachers, and youth speaking about cyber bullying prevention.
“Nothing is more important than the safety of the people [who] use our site,” said Andrew Noyes, manager of public policy communications at Facebook. “Online safety is a responsibility shared among parents, teachers, teens, policy makers, and services like Facebook.”
The announcement came after a recent White House Convention on Bullying Prevention. The campaign will include a town hall meeting with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, which will focus on bullying issues and teaching adults how to cope with it. It also will coincide with Facebook’s Social Media Pledge App that encourages educators, parents, and kids to make a personal commitment to help stop bullying. Also featured will be Cartoon Network’s bystander-focused bullying prevention resources and expansive coverage of bullying from Time Inc. publications.
“I think it’s important to remember that activity on Facebook mirrors what’s going on offline—and we haven’t ‘solved’ bullying in offline contexts—so it will take some time to address it online, too,” Noyes said.
A 2007 study by Stanford University master’s student Debbie Heimowitz found that more than 60 percent of students had been victims of cyber bullying, up from 42 percent in a 2004 study done by i-SAFE.org. Online bullying became nationally recognized after a number of teen suicides that stemmed from alleged harassment online, now termed “bullycides.” According to the Centers for Disease Control, 23 percent of online bullying occurs via websites such as Facebook, while 67 percent of electronic aggression, the largest percentage, occurs through instant messaging.