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delete digital drama Katie Leclerc, Vanessa Marano, and Emily Osment show their support to help end online bullying at Seventeen magazine and ABC Family's "Rally to Delete Digital Drama" at the Americana at Brand on July 14th. (Photo: ABC FAMILY/TODD WAWRYCHUK)

[Delete] Digital Drama

Multimedia partnership aims to put an end to cyber-bullying

By Leila Sachner | September 15 , 2011
Kid Reporter Leila Sachner (middle) with Katie Leclerc (left) and Vanessa Marano atthe [Delete] Digital Drama event at Planet Hollywood New York. (Photo courtesy Leila Sachner)
Kid Reporter Leila Sachner (middle) with Katie Leclerc (left) and Vanessa Marano atthe [Delete] Digital Drama event at Planet Hollywood New York. (Photo courtesy Leila Sachner)

With more and more kids on social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, cyber-bullying has become a bigger problem. But a new program launched by ABC Family and Seventeen Magazine is aimed at stopping cyber-bullying.

[Delete] Digital Drama delivers the message to kids that cyber-bullying is wrong and everyone is able to stop it.

How? Hit the [Delete] key. That may sound too simple, but pressing that one key on your computer gets you one step closer to ending cyber-bullying.

"The campaign and the message is strong and very straightforward," Katie LeClerc, who plays Daphne in the hit series Switched at Birth, said during a recent interview at Planet Hollywood in Times Square. "Just delete it."

Bullying has been around for a long time. Kids normally encountered bullying in schools. But now kids are online, chatting with friends and classmates on Facebook, or updating their Twitter accounts. This has caused bullying to move from school hallways to Facebook walls.

Cyber-bullying can take many forms. Bullies can make fun of how someone looks in a photo posted on Facebook. They can write mean things on someone else's Facebook wall.

For bullies, being online means there are no longer any boundaries.

"With the Internet, it's so out there," Vanessa Marano, who plays Bay in Switched at Birth, said. "Anybody can say whatever they want, and they're blocked by a computer screen! It's like their little safe haven."

Katie knows what it's like to be bullied. When she was in the seventh grade, she was tormented everyday by girls in her school.

"I was followed by a group of three girls who made it their personal mission to try to ruin my reputation," she said. "They threatened to kill me at one point."

The bullying got so bad that her family moved from South Dakota to California where she could start fresh.

"There was just one person who simply said 'Why are you doing this?'" Katie said. "And it made such a big difference to me to know that there was one person who was willing to say, 'This isn't right. Why are you doing this?' That was all I needed."

[Delete] Digital Drama gives kids the chance to be someone who stands up against bullying. You can put a "Twibbon" on your Facebook or Twitter account to show your support for [Delete] Digital Drama by saying no to bullying. A "Twibbon" is an online bumper sticker that lies in the bottom corner of your profile picture to show you are a part of the campaign.

But there are other ways to stand up to cyber-bullying, too. When you see someone being cyber-bullied, you can stand up to the bully and tell them to stop. Just a simple question like, "Why are you doing this?" can help.

If kids come together and stand up to cyber-bullies, things can — and will — change.

"It sounds cheesy," Katie said. "But hang in there. It will get better."

You can learn more about [Delete] Digital Drama on the Seventeen website.

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