Take a stand against cyberbullying

Every parent cringes when we hear about another case of a kid being bullied online or through their phone. We don’t want our kids to be the bullies, and we especially don’t want our kids to be the victims. But there’s another player in the bullying scenario: the bystander.

The bystander is the kid who got the horrible text, but didn’t pass it on – but who also didn’t tell anybody. Those kids, according to Common Sense Media, have more power than they think. And on Tuesday, October 18, the kids who speak out are being celebrated in a national town hall.

“Stand Up to Cyberbullying” is a partnership between Common Sense Media, Yahoo! Safely, and MTV’s A Thin Line. The event, at the Field Museum of Natural History, will be hosted by MTV News correspondent SuChin Pak, and will feature a panel with CPS teachers, representatives from YOUmedia and Digital Youth Network, and parents and teens.

Common Sense Media, which is based in California, has ties to Chicago Public Schools through a grant from the MacArthur Foundation.

“We decided this was the perfect time to come here and work with our students,” says CSM spokesperson Colby Zintl, who noted that Chicago is one of the cities on the forefront of making cyberbullying extinct.

CSM works with parents and teachers to help kids deal with and prevent cyberbullying. Their curriculum is being used in over 20,000 schools. They even have curriculum for preschoolers.

“There are points of entry that every kids goes through,” said Zintl. “They get an email address, they get a phone, they get a Facebook account…the curriculum follows these milestones.”

Yahoo! Safely is an interactive website that helps teens and parents know how to be web savvy.

And A Thin Line is MTV’s initiative to help teens take control of their digital experiences.

“We felt like the three partners enable a national conversation with all the key stakeholders,” said Zintl.

Yahoo! Safely also broadens the event’s reach. Stand Up to Cyberbullying will be live streamed at http://safely.yahoo.com/teens/townhall/ and viewers can submit questions and comments on Twitter, using the hashtag #standup at @yahoosafely and @CommonSenseNews.

The event is the first of many town halls about cyberbullying. The next one will be in New York sometime next year.

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