Cyberbullying: Finding the Right Person to Deliver the Message

Carrie Schmelkin : Gossip from the Hallways
Carrie Schmelkin
Web Editor, TMC

Cyberbullying: Finding the Right Person to Deliver the Message

“It’s not always about the message; it’s about the messenger.”

We all know that sometimes even the most important messages go unheard if they are not delivered from the “right person.” After all, how many times do we hear about an alcoholic dad who can’t stop drinking until he hears from his five-year-old son, not wife, that his behavior is scaring his little boy? Or how about the anorexic girl whose parents beg her to see what she really looks like in the mirror but it doesn’t resonate until that girl’s lifelong ballet teacher pulls her aside one day?

So, when it comes to bullying, are kids more apt to listen to their peers who are telling them to stop or their parents and teachers? One group certainly thinks the message might come across loud and clear if it is from a teen himself.

In an effort to help the 15 million teens that are victims of cyberbullying each year – and the 19,000 of those teens that contemplate suicide –a variety of teens and adults have teamed together to form The Great American NO BULL Challenge, the only national video contest and teen video awards show that brings awareness to the issue of cyberbullying in America.

The NO BULL Challenge is asking the 25 million middle and high school students in America to turn to social media to build each other up instead of tear each other down.

“I hope that together, we’ll show America's teens how detrimental cyberbullying can be and how easy it is to join the NO BULL movement to make a difference,” Nicole Edgington, national spokesperson for the Great American NO BULL Challenge , said in a statement. “I want people to start thinking twice before they post something hurtful!  I’m confident that the Great American NO BULL Challenge will inspire the hearts and minds of many, just as it has mine.”

The project, which is targeted toward kids in sixth through 12th grades, is powerful albeit simple. Teens are asked to create a two- to five-minute video that touches on cyberbullying and what can be done to stop it. Then, adolescents are asked to upload their videos to the NO BULL Challenge site and hope that their friends, community and family vote for it.

The competition kicked off on Jan. 15, and voting continues until March 14. At that time, 15 finalists will be chosen and invited to attend a star-studded event taking place on July 21, in San Francisco, Calif., called the NO BULL Teen Video Awards. At the event, kids will get to see a variety of musical performances, meet their favorite athletes and celebrities, and have their video introduced to the world.  The first-place winner will win a three-episode production deal worth $10,000 and a trip for two to the Sundance Film Festival in 2013.

Only a few videos have been posted to the site so far, and I am already blown away. One teen decided to gather together a handful of self-proclaimed cyberbullies who discussed what caused them to tease others and what ultimately made them stop . Another teen posted a video displaying images of kids that took their own lives these past few years because they just couldn’t take the torment anymore. 

I’ve heard about a lot of projects over the last few years, from the It Gets Better Project to the “Names Can Really Hurt Us” assembly campaign, and I have to say that the NO BULL project has such merit because it relies on kids to get through to kids. The same way a kid will listen twice when his buddy tells him to not drive drunk, a kid will also perk up when his best friend tells him that enough is enough when it comes to bullying.

While it has the power to do enormous good, my one hope is that kids realize that this is meant to be constructive and helpful and not about winning just to get a chance to meet an A-list celebrity and attend Sundance. Let’s hope the kids don’t lose sight of the fact that this campaign is about how social media can actually be used to counter cyberbullying rather than promote it. Let’s hope kids realize they have been given an incredible platform to share their stories with others and put an end to this cycle of cruelty.

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1 Comment

Every one should have to tell them its benefit and loss , I think this is not good for a child....

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