It was announced earlier this week that Facebook is funding anti-bullying training in schools, where one young person in every UK secondary school will become a ‘digital safety ambassador’ in order to support fellow students who experience cyber-bullying. Following this news, it has also been announced that Facebook has bought the app ‘tbh’, an app that encourages teens to be nice to each other.
The “digital safety ambassador” scheme
Facebook will provide £1m to fund an extension of existing projects run along with youth charities Childnet and The Diana Award that trains young people to provide peer-to-peer offline support for online bullying.
New research has suggested that young people are more likely to discuss online bullying with each other rather than teachers or their parents. So assigning and training one student per UK school to become an anti-bullying ambassador should encourage the other students to speak up and discuss the issue. The role of the ambassador will be to help give their peers the tools they need to stay safe and tackle issues like cyberbullying.
“This partnership is the next step in our ongoing effort to help young people build safe and supportive communities,” said Antigone Davis, Facebook’s head of global safety policy.
The partnership with ‘tbh’
The app, meaning “to be honest”, is just nine weeks old but has already scored 5 million downloads. Originally a four person team, these four people will now become Facebook employees while their app will remain a standalone programme but with a lot more resources from Facebook.
The idea behind the app was to create an anonymous polling service that will not lead to any sort of online trolling or harassment. The app will ask pre-determined, positive questions such as “Who would be best to bring to a party?”, and the option of selecting one of four friends also using the app. Users are then notifed when they are selected, but the details of who selected them is kept anonymous.
This will leave the users with only positive online interactions.
The companies actions show that they are currently committing to improving the mental health of millions of teens by building more positive experiences within social media, whilst teaching them how to stay safe and giving them a voice, and they are doing this by creating these various partnerships.