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

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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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