This month, European mobile phone operator Vodafone released the results of a massive new cyberbullying survey, as well as an innovative “BeStrong” campaign with a set of custom emojis designed to make it easier for bystanders to step in and lend a hand.
The survey, which is being described as perhaps the largest and most comprehensive of its kind, polled almost 5,000 youngsters aged 13 – 18 in Europe, the U.S. and worldwide.
Generally the results were consistent with other research we’ve seen. The highlights:
- About 20% of teens report that they have been cyberbullied
- More than half of respondents say that cyberbullying is worse than face to face bullying
- 21% had skipped school over cyberbullying
- 25% have deleted social media accounts because of cyberbullying
- 38% never report the cyberbullying to their parents or anyone else
- 43% of teens who witness cyberbullying are at a loss as to how to help
In response to the last point, which clearly is a challenge, Vodafone produced the video below that kicks off the new campaign and set of custom emojis that can be used by those who choose to not be bystanders.
According to Vodafone:
“In response to the findings, Vodafone today announces the #BeStrong anti-cyberbullying emoji initiative, which involved the creation of a suite of ‘support emojis’ to raise awareness of the importance of conveying compassion, sympathy and support when friends are being bullied online. The emojis were chosen by the 4,720 teens surveyed from a wide selection designed by Vodafone and its anti-bullying panel as their favourite symbols for compassion and support.”
An emoji campaign might seem like a frivolous response to a serious problem but it isn’t. Even if just a handful of kids use one to reach out to someone who is being cyberbullied, it is a step in the right direction.
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