Bullying is reaching new heights and kids face threats everywhere; one mom took action when her daughter was a victim, and launched the Great American NO BULL Challenge
When Shawn Edgington’s daughter, Nicole Edgington, was bullied during her senior year of high school, stalked and physically threatened online, she knew she had to do something.
Shawn started her quest to help her daughter by writing the bestselling book for parents about understanding how to parent today’s connected teens called, The Parent’s Guide to Texting, Facebook and Social Media: Understanding the Benefits and Dangers of Parenting in a Digital World. When researching the book, she came across this alarming statistic: almost 50 percent of teenagers have experienced cyberbullying, sometimes with deadly results.
She decided to take the lead and develop a nation-wide campaign that would use the power of the social media to draw attention to the issue of cyberbullying in a really big way. Thus, the idea for The Great American NO BULL Challenge, a video contest coupled with a teen video awards show, was born. The contest begins this Sunday, Jan. 15.
“The Parent’s Guide is a great success, and we received a great deal of press and attention to this important issue as a result, [but] I just felt it wasn’t enough,” Shawn told me. “I needed to do something on a national level to draw attention to this epidemic and empower students to make bullying the ‘un-cool’ thing to do.
“No doubt, the bullying conversation needs to start at home with the parents, but the bullying is happening because KIDS think it’s OK or are oblivious to how hurtful their actions are,” she continues. “If we can motivate kids to stop the conduct, that is where we are going to win big, which is what The Great American NO BULL Challenge is all about.”
As the author of The Parent’s Guide to Facebook, I have become very involved in the campaign to support and promote Shawn’s initiative. I wrote a blog post about working with her, even though we have books that have almost identical titles. Why am I promoting her book? The answer is simple: coo-petition. On an issue as important as this, it’s no time to compete against one another.
Just last week, there was yet another sad story in The New York Times about a teen in Staten Island who stepped in front of a bus and committed suicide allegedly due to bullying.
With The Great American NO BULL Challenge, Shawn aims to launch the largest campaign against cyberbullying in America’s history. The contest offers 25 million middle and high school students the opportunity to write and direct anti-bullying videos for the national competition. The Challenge is the first youth-led campaign that empowers students to become aware of what the effects of cyberbullying are, and shows them the power of standing up and doing the right thing, even when their friends are not.
Winners of the NO BULL Challenge will win prizes worth over $25,000 that include a $10,000 production deal, a trip to the NO BULL Teen Video Awards show in San Francisco, their video submitted and a trip to Sundance Film Festival, school scholarships, a Mac Book Pro, an iPhone and much more.
The formal announcement of the 15 finalists will be made on May 17th, National Cyber Safety Awareness day. All finalists are invited to attend the star-studded NO BULL Teen Video Awards in San Francisco on July 21st. At the Teen Video Awards gala, everyone will get to see amazing artists perform live and meet their favorite athletes and celebrities on the red carpet. The NO BULL winning videos will be announced “live” at the Teen Video Awards, where their video will be introduced to the world.
Shawn has approached some of the largest social networking companies about getting more focused and involved with this issue, including Facebook and Formspring. With the help and support of the social media communities, she will be able to drive attention and action to this epidemic.
To find out more about the Great American No Bull Challenge and the NO BULL Teen Video Awards, go to http://www.nobullchallenge.org.
Follow them at @NOBULLcontest
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