Scott: They are two of the biggest buzzwords: social media and bullying. And some students in California had decided they had heard enough from cyberbullies and banded together to get some pretty interesting results. And Maggie Rulli has their story.
Kim Karr: Hey, I want to make sure you guys are getting out your phones.
Maggie: In this classroom, cell phones and social media are okay to use but only if you play nice.
Ally Fernane: Make everybody smile because everyone is wonderful.
Maggie: These students are fighting cyberbullies with one simple tool – kindness. At Excelsior Middle School in Byron, California, students were fed up with all of the negativity they saw in social media. They wanted something different. Their leadership teacher, Kim Karr, had an idea: #icanhelp.
Karr: I wanted to have it where, it was just common knowledge that if you see something negative, you knew what to do.
Maggie: Her idea has now become a campaign – one that bands students together against bullying with just a few simple steps. If there is a negative site or comment, the students respond with kind words and ask the person to stop. If it is bad enough, they report it as a community in overwhelming numbers, finding if fifty people or more report a site, it disappears.
Ally: It works. We’ve taken down a lot of negative sites.
Maggie: Like one very mean, fake profile made of Jennifer.
Jennifer Hansen: It was a picture of me with my face.
Maggie: Someone here – who remains anonymous – responded with positivity and made a fan page for Jennifer.
Jennifer: It helped me so much that someone would do something so nice for me.
Maggie: Like Jennifer and countless other students, Annika was also bullied online, and these students stood up for her too.
Annika Bayer: Once I Can Help started, it really helped me to realize that I’m not alone.
Maggie: Recent studies show that bullying is on the rise among young adults. And cyberbullying is becoming more common than any other type. In fact, more than half of young people say something mean has been said about them or to them online.
That is why the I Can Help campaign wants to take its positive message beyond just their school district.
Karr: The big thing I’m telling them is, ‘together we are powerful, and together we can delete negativity’.
Maggie: Students sticking together in California to delete negativity across the country.
Emma Bautista: It just feels great to stand up to someone.
Maggie: And to stand up for something.
Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.
Scott: Have you found ways to help your friends who have ever been bullied? Well, share your stories with us over on our Facebook page.