Fight Digital with Digital to Help End Cyberbullying
By Katie Leavitt, Tonic.com
Unless you've been living in a blissful state of medialessness, you've probably heard quite a bit about suicide, bullying and digital abuse lately. Sadly, many of the great assets of the cyberworld –– like quick and easy mass communication –– can turn ugly when used with malicious intent. That's why various campaigns are developing across the Internet, to help affected youth understand that they are not alone and that life doesn't have to be this way.
MTV has been addressing their young audience about cyberbullying, digital abuse and sexting harassment with their A Thin Line campaign. With more than half a million users, it seems as if people are getting sick of abuse and are working collectively to stop it. The website addresses the issues, offers ways to become part of the solution and gives solid advice for those who have fallen victim. Today (Oct. 26), A Thin Line gets a little wider with the addition of the Draw Your Line interactive map.
"No generation has ever come of age dealing with the consequences of large-scale digital abuse," said Jason Rzepka, vice president of MTV Public Affairs. "MTV is partnering with our audience to help turn the tide on this uniquely 21st century issue –– and empowering them to develop a new code of ethics for the digital age."
The concept comes from 24-year-old Michael Bastianelli, who has personally been a victim of digital abuse. Bastianelli's idea was developed into an interactive tool that will display a visual representation of the actions being taken across the country to end Internet harassment. Users can post the actions they are personally taking to stop bullying, such as pledging to delete nasty messages rather than forwarding them, and can also see what other people, schools and organizations are doing around the country.
By displaying these actions visibly, it empowers youth to take action themselves and to discover new ways of kicking cyberbullying to the curb. It also allows those in the know to reach out to others by suggesting local or national resources.
MTV's got a great advantage to create change as most of the folks affected by this behavior are of their demographic. YouTube's It Gets Better project is another great example of how powerful the Web can be used for doing good work. Aimed at reaching out to gay youth, celebrities and politicians, as well as normal folks, have come together to create videos explaining that change will come –– it will get better.
With so much power at everyone's fingertips, tech platforms can easily be used for good or evil. We can all do our part, though, by making sure the only things that go viral, bring smiles to our faces.
Photos courtesy of Draw Your Line