Safer Internet Day 2016

Anti-bullying activist Monica Lewinsky and social media personalities including Bars and Melody launch anti-bullying emojis to millions of global followers

  • Vodafone collaborates with Monica Lewinsky to create anti-bullying keyboard with brand platform for mobile messaging Snaps
  • Exclusive #BeStrong anti-bullying stickers made available on popular sticker app Imoji
  • Watch Monica Lewinsky’s new video discussing creation of #BeStrong anti-bullying emojis
  • Donation made to anti-bullying charities by the Vodafone Foundation for views and likes of YouTuber videos*

Anti-bullying activist Monica Lewinsky, rapper/singer duo Bars and Melody and a host of social media stars will this week post videos to encourage their millions of followers to use specially-designed emojis to support friends being bullied online.

Marking Safer Internet Day 2016, the YouTube personalities – also including Musical Bethan, Hannah Witton, Grace Victory and ‘Minecrafter’ GamingmetReve – will discuss the topic of cyberbullying with their followers and share the #BeStrong anti-bullying stickers and gifs, created by Vodafone in response to a global survey of 5,000 teens.

Monica Lewinsky, whose popular TED Talk The Price of Shame has reached more than seven million people, came to Vodafone early last year with the idea of creating the #BeStrong emojis, having heard about the long-term commitment Vodafone has made to the issue of child internet safety. Vodafone UK’s Digital Parenting magazine is in its fourth edition, with almost one million copies distributed since September.

Lewinsky said: “You can’t always find the right words. Having a symbol which will be universally known by people as an anti-bullying emoji for support that means ‘I’m with you’, ‘Hang in there’, ‘I’ve got your back’, is incredibly valuable”.

The 11-country survey of 5,000 teenagers, commissioned by Vodafone from YouGov late last year, showed an appetite for the ‘support’ emoji, with 43% saying they could not find the right words to show support for a friend being bullied online – and the majority saying they liked the idea of an anti-bullying emoji. The 5,000 teens then chose their favourite emojis from a large selection.

Duo Leondre Devries and Charlie Lenehen, known as Bars and Melody – whose Britain’s Got Talent appearance performing a song about bullying has been viewed more than 100 million times – will today release a video featuring specially-recorded footage singing Hopeful, as well as answer questions from young people who have experienced cyberbullying. The pair are anti-bullying ambassadors for The Diana Award. Lewinsky is also an anti-bullying ambassador for the organisation.

In the Netherlands, popular Minecrafter GamingmetReve will also mark Safer Internet Day by uploading a Minecraft game, where the #BeStrong emojis appear in a virtual landscape. Further videos will follow over the course of this week from Grace Victory, Bethan Leadley and Hannah Witton, all dedicated anti-bullying champions.

The #BeStrong keyboard is available on the App Store and is coming to Google Play and can be used on a number of messenger platforms. More than 20 new stickers have also been created by popular emoji keyboard app Imoji. The standalone #BeStrong keyboard features gifs and stickers featuring Domo, a Japanese character with 13 million social media fans who champions the #UBU (‘You Be You’/Be yourself’) hashtag. When the #BeStrong emojis were made available on Snapchat as a Europe-wide geofilter in November, there were 80 million actual interactions in three days. Vodafone is also talking to other social media platforms about featuring them in future.

Vodafone and charity The Diana Award have also released a series of learning modules aimed at teenagers, which cover subjects from ‘selfies ‘and ‘online gaming’ to ‘social networking’ and ‘mean tweets’. The learning modules have been released on www.vodafone.com/parents , by NGOs including The Diana Award and by many of Vodafone’s markets. Each module provides resources needed for teachers to train a small group of students to deliver short lessons to other students at school. The modules also include advice for parents.

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Note to editors

*Monica Lewinsky #BeStrong video

#BeStrong emoji images

*The Vodafone Foundation has announced that, as part of its digital family programme, for each view, like and direct share of each influencer’s video, it will donate £1 up to a maximum of £100,000 to the following charities: The Diana Award, ISPCC, Pantallas Amigas, NetSafe, E-Bezpeci, Meldknop.nl and The Smile of the Child. The maximum amount of £100,000 includes views and likes of the #BeStrong emoji messages, this video and other supporting videos through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube until 20 February 2016.