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Cartoon Network Launches Anti-Bullying Campaign

Next fall Cartoon Network plans to launch an anti-bullying campaign using well known cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny and Scooby-Doo.

Unlike many bullying programs, this one is geared toward middle school, where experts say bullying is most common. It also targets not bullies nor the bullied, but kids who witness bullying, giving them appropriate techniques to intervene.

“There are specific strategies young people can learn to make a difference in their schools and communities,” said Alice Cahn, Cartoon Network’s vice president of social responsibility. “We decided to focus on those who watch bullying happen — the bystander community — who know they should do something, but are not sure what.”

The anti-bullying campaign includes content in the cartoons themselves, in public service ads, in an online curriculum and on CNN, which will include complementary programming for parents.

In partnership with a federal agency, the network plans to start the campaign Oct. 1, both on the air and on its popular, game-filled website.

It will presumably be similar to the anti-bullying www.hrsa.gov campaign.

The full press release follows:


Cartoon Network Announces Bullying Prevention Campaign,
Empowering Youth Bystanders to Take Action

Advisory Board Partners Include Renowned Bullying Prevention Experts, US
Departments of Health & Human Services, Justice and Education, and
Project Change-MD

CNN to Participate with Anti-Bullying Campaign Through Editorial
Features Covering Key Issues & Prevention

Cartoon Network will leverage its influence among kids this fall with a brand new campaign aimed at educating and empowering bystanders to take action to reduce/prevent bullying. The on-air and online initiative will launch in October 2010 to coordinate with the fifth annual National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week (Oct. 4-10), sponsored by the National Center for Bullying Prevention. Cartoon Network will create a new series of PSAs that will premiere on Friday, Oct. 1, at 9 a.m. directing viewers to key online resources at CartoonNetwork.com developed in coordination with its recently established Bullying Prevention Advisory Board. CNN, sister station to Cartoon Network within Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., also will present a series of editorial features on bullying to provide better understanding and response options for victims, bystanders and adults.

“This has been a growing and critical issue and we knew we had to find the right way to not only engage our audience and others but to also give them the proper tools and knowledge,” said Stuart Snyder, president and chief operation officer of Cartoon Network. “The research we started last summer inspired us to seek out nationally recognized experts to advise us on what, if any, positive steps could be taken to help reduce its occurrence. Our ongoing discussions eventually led us to create a campaign directed at the bullying ‘participant’ who has the most power to affect change-the bystander.”

“Research has shown that 75-85% of students in schools are considered witnesses to bullying,” added Alice Cahn, Cartoon Network vice president of social responsibility. “Through our work to date with bullying prevention experts we learned there are proven tactics bystanders can use to interrupt and even put an end to a bullying situation. Our goal is to help teach these tactics, as well as to spread awareness of multiple resources kids and adults can access should they find themselves or someone they know in a bullying situation.”

Comprised of renowned educators and researchers, as well as private organizations and government agencies, the Cartoon Network Bullying Prevention Advisory Board includes Dr. Ronald Slaby, senior scientist, Education Development Center, Inc. & Center on Media and Child Health, Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School; Dr. Susan Limber, Clemson University, Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life; Dr. Duane Thomas, University of Pennsylvania, Applied Psychology & Human Development Division; Dr. Anthony Peguero, Miami University, Department of Sociology; Captain Stephanie Bryn, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration; and Robyn Glass, Founder and Executive Director of Project Change’s You Have The Power, a peer mentoring program where high school students teach bullying prevention tactics to middle and elementary school students.

“Bullying can be prevented,” said Slaby, co-author of the Eyes on Bullying Program. “Our challenge is to prepare ourselves and our children to show respect for others, protect the vulnerable and speak out against bullying.”

“Bullying is more prevalent than many adults believe,” said Limber, co-author of the internationally renowned and researched Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. “It can have a toxic effect on children and youth, their families, their schools, and other settings where children gather. The good news is that there is lots that can be done to help prevent bullying before it starts and to stop bullying if it does occur. Children and youth have critical roles to play, together with adults, in these efforts to stop bullying.”

Within online curriculum being created at CartoonNetwork.com in partnership with Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) “Stop Bullying Now!” (stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov) and through key links to partnering organizations, kids and parents alike will be presented with engaging materials providing researched and recommended response actions to a variety of possible bystander circumstances. The material will include tactics bystanders can use to interrupt and address bullying, techniques for turning passive bystanders into active bystanders, further information about the impact bystander behaviors can have in bullying situations; and suggestions for what kids can do proactively to help stop bullying from happening in the first place.

Coinciding with the campaign will be on-air and online reporting on CNN, HLN, CNN.com and CNN Student News to augment the country’s awareness of bullying prevention issues through a series of editorial reports. Projected news stories will cover such issues as its psychological affects on children and families, its presence both on school campuses and on popular social websites, and political issues involving state mandated response from teachers and other authorities when bullying reports are filed. CNN’s award-winning iReport, where people take part in the news with CNN, also will be collecting first-hand stories around the country this summer from victims and/or witnesses of bullying scenes describing what happened and how they responded to the situation.

About Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network (CartoonNetwork.com), currently seen in more than 97 million U.S. homes and 166 countries around the world, is Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.’s ad-supported cable service now available in HD offering the best in original, acquired and classic entertainment for kids and families. Nightly from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., Cartoon Network shares its channel space with Adult Swim, a late-night destination showcasing original and acquired entertainment for young adults 18-34. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

About the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services & Health Resources and Services Administration

The Health Resources and Services Administration is part of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. HRSA is the primary federal agency responsible for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. For more information about HRSA and its programs, visit www.hrsa.gov .

About CNN

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media.

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