The way we hurt each other has evolved™ is the powerful message behind a new documentary chronicling the frightening reality of cyberbullying. Produced by Les Ottolenghi and Ashley Reid of PLAT4M STUDIOS LLC, Submit the Documentary took me on an emotional hour-long journey where I was moved by first-hand accounts of cyberbullying and inspired to help bring about change. Through the eyes of victims, families, experts and actual perpetrators, Submit depicts this growing and pervasive problem in rich detail, backed by thorough research.
When I was asked to review the documentary, I gratefully jumped at the opportunity. The topic of cyberbullying is near and dear to my heart, not only because I’m a mom, but because I’ve been working in Online Community Management for close to 10 years. Cyberbullying is something I have dealt with on a one-to-one basis many times. I’ve often heard from school districts, teachers and parents – concerned parties trying desperately to help children escape from the grips of cyberbullies. I have comfort knowing that the community I work in takes a strong stand against this behavior and in turn, swift action. Unfortunately, not all online attacks can be dealt with as easily and no matter how quickly an issue is resolved, there are long-standing residual effects.
Submit highlights the dangers and challenges of this new world of aggression, revealing that ANYONE can be a bully. With the explosion of social networking sites and streamlined one-click technologies, anyone can hide behind the walls of the Internet or their cell phone. As parents, it is important to be aware of your children’s online activities and who they are communicating with. Submit discusses these issues at length and offers pragmatic advice and guidance on how to recognize and confront the most problematic issues.
According to the film, the solution lies within the three layers of cyberbullying – victim/bully/bystander. There are usually a significant number of bystanders who either say nothing or do nothing. These are the people – the group – that have the most power to bring about change. If every bystander stood up and said “This is not okay” the perpetrators would be overtaken and brought down. They would become powerless, unable to hurt. Growing up, I never allowed the weak and defenseless to be picked on or ridiculed. I stood up to bullies. I’m asking you to do the same. Together, we can put an end to cyberbullying. NO BYSTANDERS!
Submit recognizes the importance of cyberbully awareness. You can support this cause by extending its reach to every student and parent across the US.
Disclosure: The opinion and views expressed above are my own. No outside influence or compensation was received to preview the film.