The White House is continuing its unprecedented efforts to build acceptance in communities and schools across the country by holding a conference on bullying. Over 150 students, teachers and community leaders are present at the conference to discuss solutions to reduce harassment of young people. In a statement released earlier today, President Obama said, "if there’s one goal of this conference, it’s to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up. It’s not. Bullying can have destructive consequences for our young people. And it’s not something we have to accept. As parents and students; teachers and communities, we can take steps that will help prevent bullying and create a climate in our schools in which all of our children can feel safe." The White House also acknowledge several efforts by communities, organizations, schools and the private sector to reduce bullying. Among those are Facebook's new tools: a stronger system to report and remove bullying and offensive content and an improved safety center. According to Mashable, when reporting content, users will not only have the option to privately message those who posted the content but also include an authoritative figure such as a parent or teacher. As part of it's safety center, Facebook will include resources such as video content from experts and downloadable materials that can be used to discuss the importance of creating a safe online environment. Facebook is seeking feedback from teenagers on ways to improve its anti-bullying efforts and acknowledges the importance of creating a safe environment for all. In a statement to Mashable, Facebook's Public Policy Communications Manager Andrew Noyes said that after the suicides of several gay teenagers in September, “There was hightened awareness around LGBT bullying...We’ve certainly talked to our Network of Support and safety advisory board, and they’re very excited about these features.” In October 2010, Facebook partnered with GLAAD and other national LGBT organizations to create “Network of Support,” an educational initiative that works to combat anti-LGBT cyberbullying. The Network of Support is comprised of LGBT advocacy organizations, including GLAAD, GLSEN, HRC, PFLAG and The Trevor Project, in conjunction with MTV’s “A Thin Line” campaign. At 12:20 p.m. on March 10th, 2011, join a live conversation from the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention about how we can all work together to make the Internet safer and promote a culture of shared responsibility and of strong digital citizenship. Guests:
- Facebook Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan: Joe, a former federal prosecutor and founding member of the Justice Department's Computer Hacking and Intellectual Prop...erty Units, oversees safety and security for Facebook's more than 500 million active users.
- Melody Barnes: Melody is the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor and the Director of the Domestic Policy Council, which coordinates the domestic policy-making process in the White House.
- Stephanie Cutter: Stephanie is Assistant to the President and Deputy Senior Advisor at the White House. She advises the President on overall strategy, including messaging and communications.
- Rosalind Wiseman: Rosalind is an internationally recognized expert on teens, parenting and bullying. Her book Queen Bees and Wannabes, was the basis for the movie Mean Girls, and her follow-up book, Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads, addresses the social hierarchies and conflicts among parents.
- MTV Vice President of Public Affairs Jason Rzepka: Jason is responsible for marshaling the network’s forces to engage and activate America’s youth on the biggest challenges facing their generation.