Six Middle School friends launched a clever anti cyber-bully campaign on Instagram, attracting hundreds of participants in their small New England hometown. Please read on and share this story with people of all ages, so they too can pass the idea forward. It’s simple to do and brilliant.
What’s a Hate Page?
In response to student online “hate pages” mocking fellow classmates, a group of 8th grade girlfriends used the same technology to spread cyber “love.” It happened after school when they were talking about the extreme pain and abuse inflicted by an anonymous person and their followers. Clearly this mystery person(s) was someone they knew, as student photos from their shared Instagram accounts were being posted on hate pages, along with false and malicious comments. Sadly there was more than one threatening cyber bully site spreading gossip and untruths in their Middle School and High School.
What’s a Love Page?
In a moment of genius the girls launched an Instagram “love page.” Their tag line was and still is, “Don’t Listen to Bullies, Listen to Yourself.” They pulled photos from the cyber hate pages, and reposted them on their newly formed “love page,” setting the record straight with uplifting truths about their bullied classmates. In keeping with their angry counterparts, the girls remained anonymous, attracting curiosity clickers as well as compassion seekers. These patient girls didn’t reveal their identity until well after positive feedback had taken hold.
Their Instagram page continues to host supportive commentary from peers and most importantly from former victims. It’s diffused the madness that temporarily took hold in a typically gentle and caring community. The love page, and subsequent copy-cat love pages, have triggered healing and kept the positive energy afloat.
Equally important was the SWIFT ACTION taken by the school administration and local police who quickly teamed up and closed down the Middle School bully pages.
Thank you Gabby, Holly, Allison, Brianna, Sarah and Leah for reminding us that love is the remedy for hate, and that peers respond best to fellow peers. You found a way to use the power of technology to help others. Best of all you showed the community that leadership comes in all sizes and at any age. Kudos to all of you for starting a movement that will continue to change the lives of so many for the better.
Caryl, Ted & Julie