Students in New York City have a chance to share their experiences with cyberbullying thanks to funding from AT&T and the Tyler Clementi Foundation, a non-profit that works to end online and offline bullying in schools and workplace, according to the organization.
To highlight the impact of cyberbullying during National Cyberbullying Prevention Month, students from Mythic Bridge, Stuyvesant High School and the Digital Arts and Cinema Technology High School will shoot, edit and produce eight-minute films. Their films will be entered in the All-American High School Film FestivalFilm Invitational Competition and the winner will be announced on Oct. 9.
“My son Tyler’s story brought cyberbullying onto the national stage, but we know that he is unfortunately far from alone in experiencing its devastating impact. We need to educate teens and parents about cyberbullying, so that we can ensurewhat happenedtoTylerdoesn’t happen to anyone else,” founder and board member of the Tyler Clementi Foundation Jane Clementi said. “We know that peer-to-peer communication is the most effective tool to combat cyberbullying – these films will truly have the power to help save lives.”
Cyberbullying is one issue that might make one pause and wonder if humans are fit to use th internet, a vast marketplace of ideas. A risk behaviorstudyfrom the CDC found that 15 percent of high school students were electronically bullied in 2012. Astudyreleased in March by AT&T and the Tyler Clementi Foundation found that nearly half of New York City teens have either experienced cyberbullying or know someone who has.
According to stopbullying.gov, kids who are cyberbullied are more likely to skip school, have poor grades, low self-esteem, more health problems and experience in-person bullying.
“We need to raise awareness about the damaging effects of cyberbullying,” said AT&T New York State President Marissa Shorenstein. “This financial support means local students and teams can compete who might otherwise not be able to do so. We believe this will help educate America’s youth and make the internet a safer place for all.”
According to AT&T, the company awarded the aid based on demographic data, advisor interviews and case-by-case assessments. You will be able to view the winning film free of charge through AT&TDigital You,a program that promotes safe online interactions.
The student teams are competing for $26,000 in cash prizes, which will be awarded to their schools or programs.
“Cyberbullying is an issue that today’s generation of rising filmmakers has faced more than any other before,” said Julie Menin, commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office for Media and Entertainment. “That is exactly why this film festival is so important – it will allow them to use the power of film and their unique perspectives to spread awareness of the cyberbullying epidemic, and teach teens to help each other combat online harassment.”