Archive | June 2013

Submit the Documentary – Cyberbullying Film

SubmitLogo

Last week, Sprigeo had the opportunity to attend a film screening at UCSB where bullying researchers from all over of the world had gathered for a convention.  The community was invited for a free public screening of Submit* The Documentary, a powerful chronicle of the rise of cyberbullying.

Submit was produced by Les Ottolenghi, a software professional and father who was moved to do something after seeing the story of an eleven year old boy who committed suicide after being cyberbullied. His goal is to engage everyone who sees the film to take action instead of being a bystander.

The film was powerful and captivating.  There were a variety of honest voices in the film from teens, parents, school administrators, lawyers, law makers, law enforcement, bullying experts to researchers. There was much discussion about the anonymity of cyberbullying and how much easier it is for people to say hurtful, damaging things that would not be said face to face in person. It had a good balance of experts and voices of students and families who are in the trenches.  Truly, the most heart wrenching parts were the cyberbullying stories shared by three families who were interviewed.

One of my favorite quotes in the film was by Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Florida Congresswoman) who said, “The internet has opened our world to our children, but it has also opened up our children to the world.”  What I appreciated about the film is that it took it a step further after presenting the problem by focusing on solutions through empathy and engaging bystanders to take action.  The ending of the film included powerful words of wisdom shared by Congressman John Lewis.

The screening of Submit* The Documentary, inspired me to show the film to my family and have an intentional conversation about the importance of not just being a bystander.  I believe that anyone can benefit from watching this movie whether you are a teen, a parent, an educator or any community member.  If you are interested in viewing the film, you can visit the Submit* website and request your free on line screening.  Their website also includes great cyber safety resources for parents including fact sheets, discussion guides and more.  You can also follow the film on Facebook.

Julie Sorenson
Sprigeo Public Relations Director

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Addressing Bullying at the Community Level

Child attending public school

Ken Ulman, Howard County Executive and Erin Reiney, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) wrote the following blog post on StopBullying.gov on July 17, 2013 about their community approach to bullying that Sprigeo is proud to be a part of:

We knew we needed to tackle bullying and cyber-harassment, after a few serious incidents focused our attention and raised awareness of these problems in our community. We examined current laws and discussed whether to push for new state legislation. We looked at how our public schools collect reports of bullying and later, how they handle them.

After much study and discussion, we decided on a multi-faceted approach that brings together a variety of community partners and offers a comprehensive way forward.  We announced our plan on May 1 and now, are looking forward to seeing the results.

The plan involves three parts:

  • First, we want to change what people think and feel about bullying. We will develop a social marketing campaign to make sure adults and children know about the severe effects of bullying and what to do when it occurs. Fortunately, we’ve got a good model. In Howard County, our library system took the lead in creating a campaign known as “Choose Civility,” which has become incredibly popular for pushing positive messages about how we should treat each other We will use the lessons from that work to develop a similar message around bullying.

EAMS Lip Dub

Elizabethtown Area Middle School students, teachers and staff created this fun school-wide music video (a lip dub) that promotes student empowerment and bully-free schools. Kudos to all of the staff and students involved in this powerful project.