Anti-bullying organization launches social media campaign targeting teens

MINNEAPOLIS: In the months leading up to the PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights) Center's 4th Annual National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week, the nonprofit has launched a social media campaign featuring pop star and Disney Channel celebrity Demi Lovato.

MINNEAPOLIS: In the months leading up to the PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights) Center's 4th Annual National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week, the nonprofit has launched a social media campaign featuring Disney Channel celebrity Demi Lovato.

PACER's National Center for Bullying Prevention used in-house staff and volunteers to develop a social media presence, including Twitter and Facebook pages, and videos posted to YouTube.

To promote their cause and the launch of its new Web site on August 8, PACER has most recently teamed with Lovato, who will act as a spokesperson and appear on the site. Lovato has talked publicly about being bullied.

The site will serve as an educational resource for teenagers. Julie Hertzog, director of the Bullying Prevention Project at PACER, said the organization gathered insight from 150 teens in order to develop the site, which will be continually updated with writing, artwork, and videos submitted by users.

“The videos were created by kids to discuss their own problems,” said Hertzog. "It gave us a totally teen-centric influence on development. It's written in a teen voice."

Hertzog notes that Facebook is useful for teens who have been victims of bullies.

“It allows teens to reach out to other teens in a positive way, to share personal experiences dealing with bullying.”

The organization's 4th Annual National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week takes place from October 4 through October 10. During the week, PACER encourages schools and communities nationwide to work together to increase awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on all children.

“We want to engage schools and communities to start discussions and use word-of-mouth to get kids comfortable talking about the serious effects of bullying and to get their voices heard,” said Hertzog.

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