Earlier this year, Vodafone launched the #BeStrong anti-cyberbullying initiative which aimed to build emotional resilience amongst teens online. The initiative included the creation of a suite of “support emojis” for teens to use to convey feelings such as compassion, sympathy and support when friends are being bullied online.
Now Vodafone is partnering with Snapchat who has over 100 million global daily active users to create and launch #BeStrong emojis on the Snapchat app. Snapchat has created a series of Europe-wide geofilters – special artistic overlays for ‘snaps’ which can be access from select locations.
The idea is to encourage users to take a stand against bullying by sharing snaps using the #BeStrong emojis in a show of support with people being bullied online.
The emojis were developed in collaboration with anti-bullying ambassador Monica Lewinsky, whose TED Talk about bullying has more than six million views. She was the person who originally brought the #BeStrong emoji idea to Vodafone.
Professor Dacher Keltner – a psychologist from Berkeley University helped to create the emojis and commenting in a video he said that;
“A lot of emojis can be limited for communicating emotions. The bystander needs better tools. Specific emojis that they can send their friends to show that they are there for them.”
The global cyberbullying study revealed that more than half of teens said cyberbullying is worse than face-to-face bullying and 43% believe it to be a bigger problem for teenagers than drug abuse.
38% said that they did not tell a parent or guardian as they felt ashamed (32%), scared their parents would get involved (40%) or worried what their parents might do (36%).
Snapchat’s director of public policy, Micah Schaffer said:
“We’re proud to leverage our Geofilters product to help spread the BeStrong message with Snapchatters across Europe. We hope that sharing this message can help Snapchatters take a stand against bullying on our platform and beyond.”
Vodafone’s foundation director Andrew Dunnett said:
“The new generation that was born digital thrives in a world of constant connectivity, but there are clear risks for young people as well as benefits. Our research showed many teenagers find it difficult to help their friends when cyberbullying is happening, and the #BeStrong campaign has been created to help them convey emotional support”.
Below is a screenshot of the final emoji design which will be used in the Snapchat app when they are released.