MANILA, Philippines – A group of 5 students who came from different schools were selected as Google’s “Web Rangers” in an awarding ceremony held at The Podium in Ortigas on Thursday, August 20.
“Cyberbully 404” – composed of Hyun Ju Song from De La Salle Santiago Zobel, Adj Regidor of Enderun Colleges, Reanna Noel and Bea Aquino from Miriam College High School, and Haedric Daguman from St John of Beverley School – bested 11 other campaigns sifted from over 300 sign-ups.
After heeding a call to action, the first batch of Google Web Rangers participated in a workshop conducted in July in partnership with the National Youth Commission (NYC) and full-service creative agency DM9JaymeSyfu to train them to make their own anti-cyberbullying campaigns.
Cyberbully 404 made a social experiment where they gave a set of cards containing insults to their acquaintances, challenging them to give it to others within the day.
“If you can’t say it in person, why would you do it online?” the campaign asked.
Regidor said in an interview that cyberbullying is a big problem because it does not only affect people physically but also emotionally.
“We have the capability to solve cyberbullying. We can and we must fight cyberbullying,” Regidor said, stressing the need for young people to take action.
It is only the beginning for the Cyberbully 404 campaign, as members of the winning group set up their Twitter and Instagram accounts. Their Instagram account cyberbully404 features different students and their perspectives on cyberbullying – an approach inspired by the popular Facebook page Humans of New York.
Cyberbully 404 will visit Google’s regional office in Singapore to show the campaign to the company’s executives. In addition, the campaign will be spread out to YouTube and Google Philippines’ social media profiles, according to Google’s country communications head for the Philippines Gail Tan.
NYC chairman Gio Tiongson said that the government agency is happy to partner with Google as cyberbullying is a growing issue.
“(The project is) very effective because you’ve started it at a very young age,” Tiongson said.
“I do believe in that because we live in the digital era, so we know the dangers – and while there are dangers, there still are good stuff,” he added.
Google’s Web Rangers initiative aims to harness the creativity of the youth to make a safer internet experience for them. Aside from the Philippines, Google has launched successful campaigns in other countries such as New Zealand, Israel, and India. – Rappler.com