The internet has provided us with various advantages, centered mainly on making both our academic and social life more comfortable. Indeed, there are a lot of things we have to be thankful about with the coming of the Internet. Imagine, say, passing a ten-pager paper on the effects of social media on the academic performance of young teens without having given enough time for research. While going to the library is the classical, and not to mention, the ‘academic’ way of doing it, the case is surely different when we are given only an hour to work on it. Internet has truly made our school life easier.
Aside from this, the Internet also keeps us close with our peers, including the long-lost ones. Through instant messaging and social media, conversations are truly easy with just a click of a mouse. It, thus, draws us closer to our loved ones, and connects us to those whom we share our interests with.
Along with the good sides of the Internet are its downsides as well. With the increasing popularity of Facebook and Youtube, people sometimes make use of the strong reach of such websites to spread bad rumors about other people. This, we all know, is cyber-bullying.
As pointed out by Erick Fisher in his article entitled Blah Blah Blah Blog, cyber-bullying is a phenomenon that children and adolescents seem to be increasingly using to harm others. In addition to this, Childnet International claimed in its article entitled Safe to Learn: Embedding Anti-bullying Work in School that cyber-bullying is a common feature in the lives of many young people. This is also reinforced in the online research of Robert Bamford on Cyber-bullying which stated that the significant and substantial changes in youth society are a result of new information and communication technologies. Therefore, the ease of creating and communicating in cyber space has led to changing patterns of participation. In this light, we have become active shapers of the nature of cyber world due to our capacity to develop and refine cyber communication devices. Unfortunately, it has turned out to be a bad thing.
As teens, we surely want to protect our identity, be it in the real or in the cyber world. Thus, there is a need for us to come together and put an end to cyber-bullying, or at least lessen the incidences related to this negative online phenomenon. While the oldies may point at promiscuity and decadent morals of teens as the primary culprits behind cyber-bullying, we can surely prove to them that we can make an act against cyber-bullying, an act that is not only substantial, but also cool.
Appeal to the Youth: Act against Cyber-bullying
We believe that we are shapers the shapers of tomorrow. The future lies in our hands. With the immensity of the opportunities that lie ahead of us, it is crucial for us to ensure that we always uphold human values which will protect the dignity of human person. We always need to side with the good.
Therefore, as we recognize the convergence of the media—which creates a more convenient venue for inter-personal communication, we need to remain stable in our values. Although we believe that the ultimate key to solving cyber-bullying is through the education of our will to always respect other people, we think that we can further concretize our actions by drafting specific measures that are relevant to us youth today.
With this, let us all join hands in tightening our campaign against cyber-bullying. Let us act now!
Project PTAC: Pledge to Action against Cyber-bullying
According to two great advertising gurus David Ogilvy and Leo Burnett, a great idea is useless unless there is solid execution. Thus, to ensure that our vision is turned into a reality, we would need to get the help of each one.
Execution I: PTAC Website
As what most people say, ‘keep your friends close, and your enemies closer’. Obviously, if we want to help lessen cases of cyber-bullying, we have to attack it not only in the right manner, but more importantly in the right venue. Thus, the first step is to create a website where teens like us can regularly visit.
The goal of this website is to spread awareness on cyber-bullying. But, of course, as teens we would not want to see that usual here’s-what-you-can-do-to-help kind of website. Forget about the seriousness of Unicef, or the highly text-heavy look of the World Health Organization website. We want to make our website cool and unique, but still keeping within its goal of information dissemination. This is the reason why we are having this site, which can be seen in the next page.
The PTAC website shall capitalize on the PLEDGE WALL. Running across the entire webpage, shared thoughts on how cyber-bullying can be ended can be freely posted by the site viewers. Pledges are a way of shouting out to the cyber world how dead serious we are in ending cyber-bullying.
Aside from the PLEDGE WALL, the following tabs are also present in the site: firstly, the chat page where viewers can exchange personal experiences on cyber-bullying and get feedbacks from each one. The goal of this page is to provide support to probable victims of cyber-bullying and get perspectives from other viewers. Secondly, there is also a tab that provides links to certain websites that render professional support on the matter.
Execution II: Photo Pledge
Since we aim for awareness, we have to make sure that our campaign gets heard. And how do we do that? By creating some ‘fad’. We all know the power of social media, and on how it can turn ordinary things into world-renowned topics. 9gag, for one, is continuing to gain popularity because of its unique comicality. As for PTAC, we realize the importance of getting noticed in social media like Facebook. That is why we would broadcast to the whole Facebook crowd our commitment to end cyber-bullying through a Photo Pledge. Here’s the peg:
This will be furnished in the PTAC site. Once we have made our individual pledges, a new box will appear which will generate our Photo Pledge. What we do is upload our personal photo and allow the program to put our testimonial alongside it. And there, we now have our personalized PTAC photo which we can post in Facebook, Twitter, or in whatever online account we have.
Execution III: “Tag-able Wall Photos”
Harnessing again the power of social media, another option we have is a wall photo that spells out our pledge. Similar to the Photo Pledge, the Tag-able Wall Photo is generated once we have typed in our individual pledge. We can also post this in our personal blogs, in whatever form they may be. The goal of the wall photo is to tag more people and lead them to the PTAC website.
Execution IV: Print-ready Leaflets
Aside from all these cyber-focused initiatives, we also recognize the significance of real-time information campaign. With this, we will have print-ready leaflets available in the website. Of course, we may ask, for what? Say I print these leaflets and give them to my friends in high school, what do I get in return? As such, we think that it is important to present some tangible benefits of driving this campaign. Included as a standard operating procedure in the downloading these print-ready leaflets, the viewer must indicate the number of copies he or she will create. Tangible rewards such as PTAC wrist bands, shirts, and flash disks await the viewers who are able to print 100, 200, and 300 copies of the leaflets respectively. Now that is cool!
Execution V: PTAC Cyber-bullying survey
In line with PTAC’s goal of extending professional help to victims of cyber-bullying, we believe that we can help dig insights on the reasons why cyber-bullying occurs among the teens through an in-depth survey. Through this, a study can be made which can add scholastic value to the program.
Execution VI: Official PTAC Group
We believe that the strength of this campaign lies strongly on its commitment to solve a widespread problem among teens today. Therefore, we think that more people should get involved in this awareness campaign.
To manage the viewing public, it is also necessary to create an official PTAC group. With this group, viewers can become official members that give them the privilege of enjoying an exclusive list PTAC benefits. In line with the aim of ending cyber-bullying, certain programs for the group are to be planned which involve an outreach activity which seeks to uplift teen consciousness on cyber-bullying by visiting various schools in the country. Also, through online voting, official PTAC committee members are to be elected in order to concretize monthly plans for the organization. This does not only include meeting with similar organizations, but also cool parties and events meant to keep the message both meaningful and interesting.
Looking into the future, PTAC is confident that it will grow into a well-respected group formed by the youth for the youth. Since we do not deny the fact that the school has plays a crucial role in ensuring the attainment of our specific objectives, we also wish to help them in their own anti-cyber-bullying programs in their respective schools by having this interview guide for victims of cyber bullying:
Have you experienced being disrespected online?
Where and when did that happen, if you can still remember?
What were you doing online before the incident happened?
What was the disrespectful message delivered?
What medium was used to deliver such disrespectful message? (through ym, social networking site etc.)
Were there added elements in the message (like an upsetting icon, or a slang word)?
If there were such, how do you think did it contribute to the impact of the message, or did it have any impact at all?
Was the message directed only to you, or was it done publicly (meaning a lot of people were able to know it)?
If it was directed only to you, how did you react upon seeing the message?
If it was done publicly, what was you initial reaction? Did you consult help from other people?
If you were to rate your feelings regarding the incident from 1 to 10, 10 having the highest emotional burden, what would your rate be?
Do you think the feelings you had would change if it was delivered in a different medium (like through social networking sites instead of ym)? Why or why not?
Is there a difference in the impact of an actual encounter to that of online as regards receiving disrespectful messages? Why or why not?
In your opinion, if we are to base from the impact that it created, can negative form of communication be regarded as a crime?
Under what conditions can you say it can be a crime?
National Crime Prevention Council. Cyber-bullying. NCPC Online, 2009. Web. 16 Nov 2011.
Fisher, Erik. Blah Blah Blog. Storknet, 2009. Web. 16 Nov 2011.
Childnet International. Safe to Learn: Embedding Anti-bullying work in Schools. Digizen, 2009. Web. 16 Nov 2011.
Bamford, Robert. Cyber-bullying. Coc.edu, 2010. Web 16 Nov 2011.
Hinduja, Sameer. State Cyber-bullying Laws. Cyber-bullying Research Center. 2011. Web 16 Nov 2011.