Agency: M&C Saatchi
Beatbullying, the UK’s leading bullying prevention charity, today unveils its nationwide advertising campaign to support the launch of CyberMentors the first nationwide part DCSF-funded, online peer-mentoring social networking site for young people.
In just under three weeks since launch, over 23,000 young people have accessed the site seeking help and support from their peers. Amongst these young people, hundreds are openly admitting to having suicidal thoughts and self harming as a result of the verbal and or physical bullying they are experiencing both offline and online.
Fronted by Beatbullying patron Joe Calzaghe, the advertising campaign will break online with interactive ad formats and offline, hitting over 1,000 billboards and bus-stops around the country within the coming weeks. The ad campaign will also feature in youth magazines and websites.
Beatbullying has worked with M&C Saatchi on a pro-bono basis to develop a hard-hitting online and offline advertising campaign. The concept began with a series of detailed focus groups with 11-18-year-old males and females from a representative cross-sample of backgrounds to ask what bullying really is like today both from the victim and bully’s perspective. The campaign, which features silhouetted imagery of a young person that appears to have committed suicide from the sustained barrage of bullying taunts in youth language, aims to educate victims that there is help available at http://www.cybermentors.org.uk/, and bullies on what the impact of their actions could ultimately be.
CyberMentors.org.uk, launched on 3 March allows young people suffering at the hands of bullying to seek immediate help and advice from other young people. There are already over 700 fully trained CyberMentors and Beatbullying cyber councillors manning the site in shifts to provide support to victims.
Fifty six per cent of young people admit to having, at some point, been involved in bullying, according to research conducted by Beatbullying with over 2000 young people aged between 11 and 18. Of those who have cyber-bullied, the most common way is to send a hurtful message to a victim (26 per cent) followed by spreading rumours (16 per cent), editing a picture (15 per cent) and eight per cent have either filmed bullying or sent an offensive video clip about someone to their friends.
Almost a third (31 per cent) claim to have cyberbullied ‘as a joke’ not realising the impact their actions could have on the victim. Eleven per cent do it to protect themselves from being a victim while nine per cent do it because they are bored.
Emma Jane Cross, Chief Executive, Beatbullying comments, “Bullying in any form is unacceptable but sadly it is an issue that has only been propagated by digital innovations. We are experiencing an overwhelming response to the launch of our peer mentoring social networking site CyberMentors.org.uk, with over 23,000 young people accessing the site to seek support and advice within the first three weeks. A huge proportion of these young people are openly admitting to having suicidal thoughts and self harming, these are serious alarm bells we must act on.
"Beatbullying and M&C Saatchi have deliberately worked with the young people to create a series of ads that will resonate with them and make them think about their actions and what they can do to help make a change. The advertising campaign is the next step in our ongoing work to educate victims that help is out there and for the bullies to understand that they can change.”
Carrie Hindmarsh, MD, M&C Saatchi, added, “We are very proud to have worked with Beatbullying to create an unashamedly hard-hitting advertising campaign that is designed to have a real impact on this important issue, which we feel passionately about.”
Joe Calzaghe, Beatbullying patron and the undefeated former world super middleweight champion, said, “I know only too well from my own experiences as a victim of bullying while at school what a serious issue bullying is for thousands of youngsters. For two years I was bullied, called names and ignored by former friends which turned me from a happy, outgoing kid who enjoyed school and schoolwork, into an introverted wreck, detached from his studies and scared of his own shadow during school-hours.
"Unfortunately, in the age of the internet - which didn't exist in my school days - Cyberbullying has now added to the misery bullies can inflict. I support CyberMentors.org.uk which empowers young people to help each other stamp out bullying. If I can take my own experience and raise awareness and help because of what I've achieved in boxing then I will be happy."
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