by Lisa Felton, Head of Consumer Regulation and Content Standards, Vodafone Group
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 Be Strong Online anti-bullying initiatives in 2015 and, to mark Safer Internet Day in 2016, we launched our #BeStrong Anti-Bullying Emoji Keyboard App. The app is available to download for free from the App Store. If you have an Android device, the emojis are included in the Vodafone Call+ & Message+ app, which you can download from Google Play.
The scale and impact of cyberbullying on young people must not be underestimated. A global survey by Vodafone and YouGov of 5,000 teenagers across 11 countries in 2015 revealed 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’.
In response to the survey results, we 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 was 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.
Vodafone’s #BeStrong Emoji Keyboard App is available for free download on the App Store. If you have an Android device, the emojis are included in the Vodafone Call+ & Message+ app, which you can download from 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 donated £1 up to a maximum of £100,000 to selected anti-bullying charities, including The Diana Award.
Our #BeStrong communications campaign has had a positive impact in many Vodafone markets and we were proud to receive a European Digital Communication Award in recognition of this in late 2016. We hope our emoji keyboard app will continue to help young people all over the world to stand up to cyberbullies and #BeStrong online.
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