More than 80% of high school students in the U.S. report that they witness bullying at least once a week, according to a national survey released Thursday by DoSomething.org.
A national multimedia public service advertising (PSA) campaign is launched to educate and empower parents to talk to their children about ways they can be more than a bystander. The PSAs are being distributed nationwide to coincide with National Bullying Prevention Month.
The campaign was developed by the Ad Council in partnership with AOL, Facebook, Johnson & Johnson, the Free to Be Foundation, the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention, and the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.
[ Also Read: Workers Feeling Bullied in the Workplace: Study ]
The PSAs were developed and created pro bono by New York advertising agency DDB New York and filmmaker Lee Hirsch (BULLY) and The BULLY Project.
More than one in four children in the U.S. report experiences with bullying, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. While parents throughout the U.S. are concerned about this issue, research shows they’re more reactive than proactive when it comes to talking to their children about it, (Communispace and Ad Council 2012).
Additionally, while three-quarters of teens say the best thing that others can do to help stop bullying is to intervene, only 16% report their peers “often or always” intervene and half of teens say they “rarely or never” see anyone do so. (DoSomething.org, 2012)
[ Also Read: Anti-Bullying Discussion at Sesame Workshop ]
“To stop bullying, we have to start with parents,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “This partnership will provide parents the tools they need to recognize the signs of bullying, to talk to their children about it, and to empower themselves and their children with effective, low risk strategies to end bullying.”
The effort includes a series of television, radio, print, and online PSAs as well as digital and social media strategies that encourage parents to, “teach your kids how to be more than a bystander.”
Actress, activist and co-founder of the Free to Be Foundation Marlo Thomas began an anti-bullying campaign on her website on the Huffington Post and AOL in May 2011.
[ Also Read: Saving Kids from the Dangers of Social Networks ]
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years about tackling problems,” says Thomas, “it’s that the first thing you need to do is spark the conversation. So let’s start talking about bullying. With our neighbors. With our friends and family. With fellow parents at PTA meetings. And with each other. It’s time to take bullying down.”
Per the Ad Council’s model, the creative will be distributed to media outlets nationwide and the PSAs will run entirely in donated media time and space.