Cable's Part in Spreading Bullying Prevention Awareness
Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Education estimate that more than 10 million students report being bullied every year in the U.S., with many more that go undocumented. And unfortunately, cyberbullying has also become part of being online. That's why cable operators and TV networks have taken steps to try to eradicate all forms of bullying through tools, resources, and tips they offer families, and the content that airs on television.
In honor of National Bullying Prevention Month as October wraps up today, here are just a handful of the ways that cable companies work year-round to spread bullying awareness to audiences nationwide.
Cable operators, including Comcast, Charter, Cox, Mediacom, and Midco among others, offer a plethora of parental controls for families to not just control and monitor their children's media usage, but to stay alert for any red flags that may come up. Social media sites and chat forums, while entertaining for kids, are also notorious for predatory and bullying behavior, and cable's filtering mechanisms allow parents to block harmful sites or to intervene when digital interactions become inappropriate. Cable operators also include video tutorials and resources on their sites that teach families how to educate and empower their kids to take control of their online presence while simultaneously being aware of cyberbullies and how to handle their behavior.
Cartoon Network's Stop Bullying: Speak Up initiative started in 2010 and aims to educate kids about bullying prevention through public service announcements that are based on real-life stories. The network collects stories from kids all over the country who have witnessed bullying and found ways to stop it. Cartoon Network also distributes curricula on bullying prevention to partner schools nationwide, and conducts surveys from time to time in schools to evaluate the prevalence of bullying among youth and what kids want to learn about bullying prevention.
ESPN's program, the Shred Hate initiative, launched in January 2017 at X Games Aspen, and aims to end bullying in schools and youth sports. The network teamed up with No Bully, a nonprofit that provides training for teachers and administrators on ways to stop the spread of bullying and cyberbullying in schools, to provide free resources, tools, lessons, and a curriculum for students across the country. The X Games and Major League Baseball are sponsors of the program.
Discovery's TLC network releases public service announcements that encourage viewers to support inclusion and open mindedness, even through small gestures and actions daily. Their partners include Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center, and GLAAD, the prominent media advocacy organization for the LGBTQ community. Discovery also just released a six-episode series called, "Why We Hate," co-produced by Steven Spielberg, which explores personal stories of those who were targeted by hate, and of bullies themselves. The film hopes to spread the message that humans are just as capable of "unlearning hate" as society is quick to acquire it.
Nickelodeon launched a year-long "That's Me" multimedia campaign last year, which uses dedicated themed months to teach kids about different cultures, backgrounds, and heritages. The network rolled out the campaign throughout its on-air and digital channels to focus on spreading positive messages about diversity and inclusion as part of its anti-bullying efforts.
MTV's Look Different campaign began in 2014 and uses social media as a forum for teens to discuss tough issues like racial, gender, and LGBTQ inequality. The campaign educates kids on hidden biases and how to identify discrimination in different situations, and uses Twitter chats, documentaries, comedy, and conversations with MTV stars and advocates to spread awareness about hate crimes and bullying prevention for the LGBTQ community. Spirit Day, held in October every year, is also celebrated and recognized by the network in support of anti-bullying and LGBTQ youth.