When Shawn Edgington’s daughter, Nicole Edgington, was bullied during her senior year of high school, stalked and physically threatened online, she knew she had to do something.
Shawn started her quest to help her daughter by writing the bestselling book for parents about understanding how to parent today’s connected teens called, The Parent’s Guide to Texting, Facebook and Social Media: Understanding the Benefits and Dangers of Parenting in a Digital World. When researching the book, she came across this alarming statistic: almost 50 percent of teenagers have experienced cyberbullying, sometimes with deadly results.
She decided to take the lead and develop a nation-wide campaign that would use the power of the social media to draw attention to the issue of cyberbullying in a really big way. Thus, the idea for The Great American NO BULL Challenge, a video contest coupled with a teen video awards show, was born. The contest begins this Sunday, Jan. 15.
“The Parent’s Guide is a great success, and we received a great deal of press and attention to this important issue as a result, [but] I just felt it wasn’t enough,” Shawn told me. “I needed to do something on a national level to draw attention to this epidemic and empower students to make bullying the ‘un-cool’ thing to do.
“No doubt, the bullying conversation needs to start at home with the parents, but the bullying is happening because KIDS think it’s OK or are oblivious to how hurtful their actions are,” she continues. “If we can motivate kids to stop the conduct, that is where we are going to win big, which is what The Great American NO BULL Challenge is all about.”
As the author of The Parent’s Guide to Facebook, I have become very involved in the campaign to support and promote Shawn’s initiative. I wrote a blog post about working with her, even though we have books that have almost identical titles. Why am I promoting her book? The answer is simple: coo-petition. On an issue as important as this, it’s no time to compete against one another.