Inspire USA Launches Reach Out's National "Don't Just Stand By” Teen Facebook App Developer Competition at SXSW

New Facebook App Will Help Inform and Empower Bystanders Of Cyberbullying To Take Action

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We believe that teens will be most responsive to solutions created by their peers, and that the Facebook apps submitted will hopefully inspire youth to speak up and take action against cyberbullying when they see it.

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) March 12, 2012

The Inspire USA Foundation, the non-profit organization behind the youth mental health site ReachOut.com, with the support of the ESA Foundation, today launched the National “Don’t Just Stand By” Teen Facebook App Developer Competition during the Reaching Teens on the Digital Streets panel at SXSW. This competition calls on teens 13-17 to create a Facebook app that will help inform and empower potential bystanders of cyberbullying to take action.

Cyberbullying continues to be a challenging issue for teens and young adults happening through email, chat rooms, online social networking, instant messaging and web pages. Cyberbullying can happen to anyone, and the bully can act anonymously. People can also be bullied online by groups of people, such as classmates or members of an online community. According to Pew Internet’s August 2011 Tracking Survey a majority of teens say their own reaction has been to ignore mean behavior when they see it on social media. Two-thirds of teens who have witnessed online cruelty have also witnessed others joining in and 21% say they have also joined in the harassment.

“We believe that teens will be most responsive to solutions created by their peers, and that the Facebook apps submitted will hopefully inspire youth to speak up and take action against cyberbullying when they see it,” said Anastasia Goodstein, Director of Digital Programs for the Inspire USA Foundation. “We feel that since most U.S. teens are on Facebook, it’s the natural platform to have them build these apps on and share them with their friends.”

Through June 1, ReachOut.com challenges young developers between the ages of 13-17 to help young people speak out against cyberbullying. Each entry must:

  • Focus on people aged 16-24 who would be potential bystanders to cyberbullying in online spaces/communities
  • Increase understanding of what cyberbullying is and the role of bystanders
  • Empower young people to want to make online spaces/communities more positive and safe for everyone
  • Include a specific call-to-action for potential bystanders
  • Focus on the positive, do not use negative language or triggering images depicting cyberbullying, self harm or suicide that could re-traumatize victims/survivors

Three prizes will be awarded in Reach Out’s National “Don’t Just Stand By” Teen Facebook App Developer Competition:

  • First Place = $2,000 plus five hours of virtual mentorship from an adult programmer
  • Second Place = $1500 and one hour of virtual mentorship from an adult programmer
  • Third Place = $500 and one hour of virtual mentorship from an adult programmer

Programmers will be matched with mentors according to the type of app they develop. Inspire USA has partnered with Teens in Tech Labs, which provides tools and resources to young entrepreneurs world-wide to help encourage entrepreneurship at a young age, to help promote the competition.

For more information and rules about Reach Out’s National “Don’t Just Stand By” Teen Facebook App Developer Competition please visit http://www.reachout.com/contest.

About ReachOut.com
ReachOut.com is an initiative of the Inspire USA Foundation (http://www.inspireusafoundation.org), which is a national organization with a mission of helping millions of young people lead happier lives. Reachout.com is a safe, supportive community where teens and young adults can learn about mental health issues, read and contribute real life stories, and find resources to get help. Reach Out can also be found on twitter @ReachOutInUSA.

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  • Elizabeth Rosenberg
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