Expert view

Lisa Felton

Lisa is Global Head of Consumer Regulation and Content Standards at Vodafone and Chair of the Board of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI).

Stand up to cyberbullies and #BeStrong 


Here at Vodafone, we’re always looking for ways to help young people be confidently connected in the digital world. We announced a series of anti-bullying initiatives in late 2015 and we're proud to support Safer Internet Day (9 February 2016) once again this year. To mark SID2016, we launched our #BeStrong Anti-Bullying Emoji Keyboard App, which is available for free download on the iTunes App Store and is coming soon on Google Play.

Cyberbullying research

The scale and impact of cyberbullying on young people must not be underestimated. A new global survey by Vodafone and YouGov of 5,000 teenagers across 11 countries reveals that around one in five teenagers have been cyberbullied and more than half say they fear cyberbullying more than face-to-face bullying. 43% of teens think cyberbullying is a bigger problem than drug abuse and 41% commented that cyberbullying has made them feel depressed or helpless.

Many young people find it hard to talk about cyberbullying with their parents or guardians and aren’t sure how to support friends who are affected it. 43% said they would find it hard to support a friend who had been bullied on social media as they ‘could not find the right words’.


Download the 'support emojis' from Flickr

Support emojis

In response to the survey results, we’ve created a suite of #BeStrong ‘support emojis’ to help young people convey compassion and support to friends who are being bullied online. The idea for a ‘support emoji’ was first brought to Vodafone by anti-bullying ambassador Monica Lewinsky, who has been a consultant on the initiative, working alongside semioticians, anti-bullying organisations including The Diana Award and ENABLE and Berkeley University Professor Dacher Keltner, the psychologist who advised on the creation of the characters for Pixar film Inside Out. The final emojis were chosen by the teens surveyed.

From 9 February 2016, Vodafone's #BeStrong Emoji Keyboard App is available for free download on the iTunes App Store and is coming soon on Google Play. For each view, like and direct share of Vodafone's #BeStrong emoji messages and supporting videos through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube until 20 February 2016, the Vodafone Foundation will donate £1 up to a maximum of £100,000 to selected anti-bullying charities, including The Diana Award.

We hope our emoji keyboard app will help young people all over the world to stand up to cyberbullies and #BeStrong online.

What next?

Like and share Vodafone's #BeStrong emoji messages and supporting videos on social media

Download the #BeStrong Emoji Keyboard App

Read our interview with Professor Keltner on the Vodafone UK blog

Take a look at the full cyberbullying survey results

Let your child’s school know about our new Be Strong Online modules, developed in conjunction with The Diana Award's Anti-Bullying Campaign