SM for Social Good: NJ Teen Fights Bullying with Text Messaging

Texting on a keyboard phone
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As reported by the Associated Press and CBS, a 14yo teen in New Jersey has launched an anti-bullying program which uses text messaging systems as “report and support” lines for students.

After being the target of bullies and seeing the devastating effects on peers, Ashley Craig spent 8 months researching and planning before presenting her program proposal to the High Point Board of Education.

“She Designed the System Based on Her Generation”

Ashley’s program is called Students Against Being Bullied. As its first step, it relies on two text messaging systems and email for teens. The two text lines are monitored between 7am and 5pm daily. The first line is intended for teens to report bullying incidents in real-time. The second is for teens to request support and counseling assistance. Email is available at all times.

School administrators and counselors will monitor the text and email, and provide appropriate assistance.

“I hope that students will no longer feel as though they have to hold back on what they are experiencing or what they are watching other students experience,” Ashley is reported as stating. “With this ‘Report and Support Line,’ students will no longer feel as if they have no one to talk to, that the only way to resolve their issues is to take their own lives.”

Ashley designed the system using texting and email, based on her knowledge of how teens communicate – along with her research showing that most teens own mobile phones with text capabilities. After listening to Ashley’s proposal, the school board approved the plan. They will pay for the two text plans required to support the plan, estimated at $900 annually.

New Jersey is noted as having the strictest anti-bullying policy in the nation, since passing a statute in November of 2010.

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About Kelly Baig

Kelly Baig is a concerned parent of a 13 yo girl and independent marketing consultant with insatiable curiousity about all things online. Kelly runs a successful marketing services firm, WaveBreak Marketing, in operation since 2007. Kelly has over 20 years of experience in B2B marketing, including social media and online communications for clients primarily in high-tech. In her spare time, Kelly can be found training for the triathlon at her local Y, knitting, walking her two Yorkies, and trying to learn how to cook Indian food for her husband.

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