The Internet has brought with it incredible benefits, but it is not without its faults. Online bullying affects many and runs rife. 90 percent of teens ages 12-17 have witnessed some form of online cruelty and have ignored mean behavior on social media, and more than a third (35 percent) have done this frequently (Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project).
Research has shown that the bystander can play a pivotal role in stopping bullying. And in a groundbreaking effort to empower teens to speak up when they see bullying, the Ad Council and an unprecedented coalition of media, corporate and non-profit partners launched the I Am A Witness campaign. Developed pro bono by ad agency Goodby Silverstein &Partners, and including social influencer content, the campaign aims to stop bullying by activating the “silent majority” of kids who witness it each day transform them from passive bystanders into a united, empowered and active collective that will speak up against bullying.
The heart of this campaign is the Witness Emoji. Shaped like a speech bubble with an eye in the center, the Emoji enables teens to take a stand against bullying and show support for someone who is being bullied by posting it online or through a text message.
The Emoji is available on iPhones running iOS 9.1., Android Nexus phones running in Marshmallow, and via a downloadable keyboard available in the Apple App Storeand the Google Play Store. Teens can post the Witness Emoji when they see hurtful comments or send GIFs and stickers to show support for someone in need. All assets drive to the campaign website IWitnessBullying.org.