Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Obamas Team Up with Facebook to Stop Online Bullying

President Obama and wife Michelle have been popping up on the social media news feeds here and there since Barack became president. They have used social media sites like Facebook on many instances and now the presidential couple is using Facebook to help children deal with cyber bullies.

The couple posted a video exclusively to Facebook which serves as a promo as well as a curtain raiser for the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention set to take place on Thursday. Facebook is not, however, only the messenger. The social media giant will also take an active role in the summit along with the Department of Education, the Department of Health and concerned students, parents and teachers. Facebook will also hold a Facebook DC Live event at 12:20 p.m. ET.

Facebook DC Live is a live conversation that will tackle how people can make the internet safer and also how to promote a shared sense of digital citizenship. The event will occur over several Facebook pages and will also include people from Facebook Security, MTV and the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Obama joked in his video about not nagging the viewer for a friend request but rather brought to light the upcoming conference. "This isn't an issue that makes headlines every day, but it affects every single young person in our country," he said.

Michelle Obama helped make the video personal when she brought the Obama's kids into the picture. Bullying used to be a part of growing up, however, Barack Obama refers to cyber bullying which can exist between school, your phone and your home life.

Both Facebook and the White House see cyber bullying as a growing concern and both have put renewed resources into stopping online bullying. The attempts to hinder cyber bullies included such things as making a Safety Page as well as a Safety Center for Facebook whereas the White House has created its own personal website on Facebook StopBullying.gov.

This is not, however, the first video Barack Obama has made addressing the issue of bullying. Barack Obama created a YouTube video in October in support of "It Gets Better" in order to address bullying directed at homosexual youth.

A lot of people find it easy to shrug off cyber bullying just like shrugging off name calling as opposed to physical violence. However, cyber bullying, as we have seen, can be just as painful and even more dangerous. A lot of young people today are putting their lives online and cyber bullying is becoming a bigger and bigger problem.

According to Adam Hildreth, founder and CEO of Crisp Thinking, a digital watchdog agency concerned with behavioral analysis and Internet safety, "Out of 15 million children's IM accounts analyzed we found that 5.6 million children received cyber bullying messages." Some are even saying that this estimate could be conservative according to the Crime Prevention Council.

The Crime Prevention Council claims that cyber bullying affects almost half of all America teens. Another shocking statistic from the Crime Prevention Council states that 19,000 attempted suicides occur each year in the United States alone as a result of cyber bullying.

If this is as big a problem as it seems, then it is quite refreshing and inspirational to see our nation's leaders, both in government and in media, working so hard on fixing the issue.

Source: Mashable - President Obama Fights Bullying on Facebook

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