By Anne Collier
Cartoon Network, which is more the middle-schoolers’ network than any TV network, plans to involve that key demographic in the fight against bullying. In the fall, it teams up with CNN to launch “an ambitious campaign to enlist them as foot soldiers in the fight against bullying,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. What I think they mean by “ambitious” is really smart: in several ways:
1. It’s aimed at bystanders, the kids who know the bullying or cyberbullying’s going on, usually don’t do anything about it, but can really help turn the situation around if they do. The Journal-Constitution says “about 85% of bullying incidents are witnessed by bystanders, yet only about one-fifth of the time do the witnesses intervene on behalf of the target.”
2. It’s got some leading bullying experts on the advisory panel informing the campaign.
3. This is not just a series of public-service ads. “The anti-bullying campaign includes content in the cartoons themselves, in public service ads, in an online curriculum and on CNN,” with programming aimed at parents.
The approach apparently makes sense to the very people it’s trying both to help and enlist: kids. Last summer Cartoon Network surveyed an audience about what worried them, according to the Journal-Constitution. “War and the economic woes of their parents topped the list, but the children said they were powerless to resolve those problems. Bullying, in contrast, surfaced as a problem children felt they could help combat.” [See also “Clicks, Cliques & cyberbullying: Whole school response is key.”]