Beyond Bullies, an “online program… dedicated to helping teens who are the targets of bullying and cyberbullying,” today announced the availability of its new web site and teen mentoring service. Through its web site and service, Beyond Bullies provides real-time access to online peer mentors. In short, teens helping teens.
The Beyond Bullies site emphasizes privacy, pointing out that teens often are reluctant and even afraid to report bullying to their parents or teachers. “Hold onto your cell phone and online privileges” the site advises visiting teens.
Teen “e-mentors”, as the site calls them, must be in high school (10-12th) with two personal references. The site’s e-mentor FAQ also states that students must be “in the greater Los Angeles area.” Applying teens must submit to a personal interview and obtain permission from a parent. The application form is available at the site, and includes questions like “Have you been bullied online or offline before?”
e-Mentor training covers “what bullying is and how to prevent it.” Those whom pass training will be available to their peers, via IM, site discussion boards and email. Communication is done through the site, to keep it secure and private; last names are not shared nor personal contact information.
Looking for some other ways to get involved? The site encourages teens to share their bullying experiences, help fundraise, help plan and organize events, and volunteer in Beyond Bullying offices and chapters.
Our “Take” At OSS
The concept of getting teens involved to help other teens and younger children is great in concept. However, it could prove difficult to execute. It depends on outstanding training, expert support for the e-mentors, and enthusiastic teen involvement – of which the last may be the easiest to obtain. The Beyond Bullying team may have done better to pilot this program for a while in LA, before announcing it more broadly.
- Teens who are cyberbullied more likely to cyberbully others: study (parentcentral.ca)
- Dealing With Bullies: Survival Skills (webmd.com)