October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and social media wants everyone in the US to be involved with the conversation through social networking sites.
Facebook, with 1.15 billion users, has made available a social media safety manual to let children, parents, and teachers have a good grasp on the issue of bullying and safely use the social networking platform. The Facebook for Educators and Community Leaders Guide is one of several guides released by Facebook to help strengthen the fight against bullying and safety issues across the Internet.
Google+ has partnered with PopSugar, a media network that runs several websites dedicated to women, to hold up to four Google Hangout sessions all the way through October. According to Mashable, The Hangout sessions will be presented and hosted by Google+ and PopSugar Moms, and will give a lecture on issues such as cyberbullying, suicide, and a session about how academic institutions may improve support for secure student activities on social media. The Hangouts have a tentative schedule that will start on October 10, with one session per week until Halloween.
The Facebook for Educators and Community Leaders Guide may not provide further insight to avid followers and users of the social network, and understandably so, because most of it is about elementary Facebook safety. For parents and teachers who may not be acquainted with that particular information, however, the guide offers a few all-purpose tips on how to share information on the platform using the safer way. In addition, the manual gives details on how users can report harassment or abuse on the website.
To reinforce the effort, New York Times best-selling author Rosalind Wiseman, writer of Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World was recruited by Facebook. She delineated a few tips on how parents can keep track of the Facebook usage of their children, specifically teenagers. Her list reminds parents to provide space for their kids, but give warnings about the costs of posting sensitive information online and, eventually, gain a better understanding that teens in this generation will most likely grow with social media having a major impact on their lives.
Cyberbullying is a major problem among teenage social media users, supported by an American Academy of Pediatrics report that found one in six teenagers had fallen victim to cyberbullying during the past year.
In September, 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick jumped to her death after several months of cyberbullying on text messages and social media.