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LA MESA -- Last week, AT&T launched a new education effort to help students, parents and educators tackle the cyberbullying crisis. The effort shares valuable tools and resources and encourages parents to stay involved in their children’s online lives. The initiative debuts in New York City and will feature a groundbreaking AT&T-produced film, “There’s a Soul Behind That Screen.”
Last year, AT&T and the Tyler Clementi Foundation conducted a first-of-its-kind poll of New York City teens and parents on cyberbullying. Findings showed parents are largely unaware of what’s happening under their own roof. While nearly 50% of New York City-area teens have experienced cyberbullying, only half of those told their parents.
“The impact of cyberbullying on our youth has become pervasive and alarming. We simply can't allow this crisis to destroy more lives and families. AT&T is hoping to give parents, educators and students the tools to combat this epidemic,” said Marissa Shorenstein, SVP, AT&T-East Region. “We’re working first with the New York City Department of Education, the New York City Council, and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment to start a dialogue that will support parents, their children and educators to lead positive change in our communities.”
The film compiles award-winning short films made by high school students who participated in the 2016 All American High School Film Festival Cyberbullying Invitational based on their own cyberbullying experiences.
“The Cyberbullying Invitational last year was inspiring. Through filmmaking, students could send a powerful message on the dangers of cyberbullying. We’re bringing these poignant stories back – to even more students across New York State,” said Jane Clementi, founder and board member of the Tyler Clementi Foundation. “Each unique voice and perspective in the film can inform and help stop this epidemic.”
AT&T and the Tyler Clementi Foundation have aligned with the New York City Council, the New York City Department of Education, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and Common Sense Media to screen “There’s a Soul Behind That Screen” for parents in all five NYC boroughs.
AT&T is also empowering teens to rise above online negativity and abuse through its social-first campaign, Later Haters. Influencers that teens love and trust will drive the movement on their social platforms – Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. AT&T hopes to encourage young people to use their mobile devices as a force for good.