How do we respond when the new face of cyber-bullying is Instagram and Facebook?
The platforms are no longer just the place where kids hurt one another, they’re actually, perhaps, the biggest bully themselves!
Safety is something that is drummed into us from the time we are very little. “Look both ways before you cross the street!” “Don’t touch the hot stove!” Or in my case, “Don’t jump off the second story roof! That large trash bag won’t work like a parachute!”
Keeping kids safe is a no-brainer for anyone with even a small amount of common sense or moral compass. So why do we struggle to respond to the known the effects social media is having on children? The mental health issues, cyber-bullying, and more, all point to a massive problem! The research is clear. The stories are horrible and numerous. So how should we respond? As a parent? As a marketer? As a social media user?
The best the response seems simple and easy – as long as you are prepared to put people ahead of profit. Some major companies (Patagonia & Lush Cosmetics) have recently started to pull advertising out of the social media space to help bring awareness to this issue. That’s a great start, and will no doubt play well to increase sales as a result of this bold stance, but it’s not going to solve the issue.
We don’t need big brands to step out, we need them to step up.
If you’re a brand that cares about children and teens, why not STEP UP and use your campaigns to share images and messages that inspire positive action for teen mental wellbeing? Instead of stepping out, flood social media – through paid and organic content – with messages of love and hope, and challenges to be a better person, check on your neighbor, mail a card to a friend, and get out from behind the screen.
Let’s use social media to empower the collective goodness of all people, for the health and welfare of the next generation.
Just imagine what could be possible!