The rise of the internet has created amazing opportunities for kids to learn and explore the world around them. But it has also inadvertently given bullies a powerful new platform to target kids wherever they are in the world.
Cyberbullying is now one of the biggest risks to children online, so Internet Matters needed to raise awareness about their dedicated cyberbullying hub – challenging parents to ask themselves if they are actually doing the right thing by their kids.
Most parents will have seen or dealt with a bully in their lifetime, and remember that the best advice is to just ignore them. Leave the bully at school and come home to where it’s safe.
But cyberbullies aren’t restricted to the school playground. With the multiple internet-enabled devices kids now have with them throughout the day, cyberbullies have 24-hour access to torment and abuse with their hurtful words.
Some parents may then think the answer is to take away these devices – if your child isn’t online them the cyberbully can’t get to them? But this is just another way that Cyberbullies can cause harm, forcing a child off their social profiles and excluding them from their friends in the online and offline world.
So how can parents do the right thing today to protect their kids from cyberbullies?
WHAT WE DID
#GetTheRightAdvice was all about helping parents find the tools and resources they need to protect their children from cyberbullies. But to do this, we needed to show parents that the typical bullying advice of, ‘just ignore them’, doesn’t work.
‘Sticks and Stones’ did this perfectly – taking a well-known phrase that people across the country could relate to, and showing how the effects of cyberbullying slowly make it meaningless.
With this kind of awareness campaign the norm would be to show a child in distress to try and panic parents into action. But we wanted to do something different, and encourage parents to think about how cyberbullying can affect a child’s entire life, rather than scare them into taking the internet away altogether.
This is why we don’t show any actual cyberbullying throughout, and don’t even show the little boy until nearly 20 seconds into the video. Letting the viewer hear the boy’s voice slowly lose confidence, with nothing else in shot apart from a flashing phone, helped us deliver a much more powerful message.
The setting of the boy’s bedroom was also very important, showing how this child doesn’t feel safe in his home anymore because of the harassment he’s receiving. He doesn’t even want to sit next to his phone.
‘Bullying’s changed. Your advice should too’ was our turning point, showing parents that Internet Matters has the help they need to make sure their kid’s don’t end up like the boy they see on screen. Then finally ending with ‘Get The Right Advice’ was a simple call to action that needed little other explanation – click through and discover everything you need to know.
We were delighted by how quickly our campaign spread across the nation. The cyberbullying hub received over 600% more traffic than the Internet Matters homepage, with people spending around 2 minutes exploring the topics and expert insight. The video itself received over a million total views across the web in just 2 weeks, and #GetTheRightAdvice sparked conversation about the effects of cyberbullying across social media – from parents, to other protection organisations, to even local police trying to raise awareness. But most of all, we managed to get the right advice to the people who need it most.