Obamas take Facebook stand against bullying

Mar 09, 2011
US First Lady Michelle Obama speaks before President Barack Obama at Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Washington, DC 2010. Obama and his wife Michelle Wednesday took a public stand against bullying on Facebook, on the eve of a White House summit on an issue they said affected every young American.

US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Wednesday took a public stand against bullying on Facebook, on the eve of a White House summit on an issue they said affected every young American.

"It is something that we care about. Not only as president and First Lady, but also as parents," First Lady Michelle Obama said in the video.

"It's tough enough being a kid today. Our children deserve the chance to learn and grow without constantly being picked on, made fun of, or worse."

The president, who will host the summit on Thursday which will be carried live online, said that while school bullying did not make headlines every day "it affects every single young person in our country."

Obama added that in a new wrinkle to the information age, bullying could follow kids from their schools, to their mobile phones to their computer screens.

"While technology has allowed us to connect as never before, and that's a good thing, it shouldn't affect how we treat each other."

"Putting a stop to bullying is a responsibility we all share," Obama said.

The White House meeting will gather students, teachers and parents, including victims of bullying, and will seek ways to crack down on a scourge which haunts many young people.

A Facebook page under the auspices of the government-sponsored StopBullying.gov offers information on warning signs that a child is being bullied and tips on what to do if such harassment is taking place.

Facebook, which millions of young people use as a venue to connect, will also be taking part in the summit, by broadcasting a show including a top company security officer and a teen behavior expert.

"Facebook believes in addressing safety issues proactively. Building a trusted environment is fundamental to our mission and to ensuring a positive experience for people who use our site," the company said in a statement.

"We also believe that nothing is more important than keeping people who use our service safe.

"We believe online safety is a shared responsibility and that’s why we partner with organizations globally to create the most robust and effective safety environment possible."

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