For Immediate Release May 28, 2015
Media Contacts: Anne Collier 801.663.6629, firstname.lastname@example.org; Sarah Elliott 650.477.6585, email@example.com
#iCANHELP AND NET FAMILY NEWS INC. TEAM UP TO PILOT A SOCIAL MEDIA HELPLINE FOR SCHOOLS DURING 2015-’16 SCHOOL YEAR
iCanHelpline’s California Pilot Debuts Its Crowdsourcing Campaign on Indiegogo.com
SAN JOSE, CA–With 92% of middle and high school students online daily, 24% of them “almost constantly,”* it’s time schools had some help with social media. The helpline pilot will be the first step in the development of a national call center aimed at helping schools resolve problems in social media faced by students, staff and other members of school communities. When a cyberbullying, sexting or reputation-related incident occurs, schools or districts will be able to reach helpline staff by phone, email or through a form in the Helpline Web site, iCanHelpline.org.
“The helpline will be the hub of a whole help ecosystem,” said Matt Soeth, co-founder of #iCANHELP, “with real-time, research-based advice, help in reporting and escalating abuse in social media services, a directory of school policy and investigation resources and a growing, searchable database of school social media case studies.”
“This kind of service is unprecedented in the US,” said Anne Collier, president of Net Family News, and we’re bringing it to schools because school is the one institution that reaches virtually all young people, including those at risk, and because school life is the context of young people’s social experiences, online as well as offline. Getting schools help with that helps students and parents as well.”
Features of the pilot program include:
- A call center–plus: Schools can call during school hours for real-time help and the Web site – which will include links to sources of specialized help and a directory of resources for prevention, incident response and policymaking – is 24/7/365. To be added as cases come in will be an ever-growing searchable database of anonymized school case studies making the Helpline a source of metrics & trends in school online safety issues.
- Working with social media: Building on our organizations’ longstanding relationships with numerous social media companies, including Facebook/Instagram, Google/YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter and Ask.fm, we’ll help schools navigate sites and apps, report abuse and get content taken down that violates Terms of Service, providing the industry with much-needed local context as a trusted intermediary.
- Part of a global network: We’ll also work in close cooperation with Internet helplines around the world and, with a growing collective knowledge base, help users resolve problems in global social media.
- Unique among helplines in approaching students as part of the solution and building on established student leadership education and peer-mentoring practices.
- Deep Internet safety experience: Builds on more than 15 years in the Internet safety space, working with practitioners and researchers and advising Internet companies.
Funding for the pilot is being raised through Indiegogo.com. “Contributions big or small are huge to the helpline,” said Anne Collier of Net Family News. “This is about growing the digital literacy and citizenship of all members of school communities, and we believe these are such important issues in the public’s consciousness that people will want to contribute.”
The Helpline’s developers – #iCANHELP and Net Family News Inc. – invite you to contribute to a fundraising campaign at Indiegogo.com: http://igg.me/at/icanhelpline. The goal of the campaign is $25,000 to cover “construction costs” for piloting in California next school year – Web site construction, communications tools and staff training.
About us: Net Family News is a San Jose, Calif.-based national nonprofit organization founded in 1999 to educate the public and advise the Internet industry about research and developments in technology related to youth. #iCANHELP is a Bay Area-based national nonprofit organization that creates and promotes positive, school-based solutions & interventions to online harassment and bullying.
Please make a donation to the iCanHelpline campaign at http://igg.me/at/icanhelpline
*Pew Research Center’s 2015 “Teens, Social Media & Technology” study