In the fight against bullying SapientNitro and Eardrum online + digital radio initiative 'Earphone Bully' asks "what are you gonna do about it?"

Screen shot 2012-05-01 at 7.28.44 PM.jpgCB Exclusive - With the current generation welded to their earphones, SapientNitro and Eardrum have created a new innovation in the fight against bullying.

Launched this week on digital radio and online, Earphone Bully uses 3D sound to put you in the shoes of a silent victim, then prompts people to speak up and do something about it.
It's not just a question for bully victims, it's a question for society as a whole. And the one thing people can do to force action, is to speak up and talk about a problem that has long been suffered in silence.

The website, earphonebully.org prepares kids for schoolyard bullies in a safe environment; gives people simple ways to speak up; and builds empathy in parents and bystanders. It's also freely available for any anti-bully organisation to use.

The first organisation to use the tool is Project Rockit who have worked with over 20,000 students in schools and online.
 
Says founder, Lucy Thomas: "We're always looking for new resources for students and I honestly think this one will have heaps of credibility. I think it will be a really awesome tool for building empathy, which is obviously at the core of motivating people to actually stand up to bullying."
 
Earphone Bully was created by a group of Australian parents after consulting with a bullying professional about the use of roleplay workshops in schools and the potential to take this online for anyone to use.
 
It can easily be customised by anti-bully organisations from anywhere in the world to add local support details. It can also be personalised when passing onto friends, with the Earphone Bully knowing over 500 names.
 
Parents are encouraged to use it as an ice-breaker to open the dialogue about bullying with their kids and to understand what they might be going through. The Earphone Bully site explains, "You don't really know what it's like until you step into their shoes."

Agency: SapientNitro Australia
Production: Eardrum
Director: Ralph van Dijk (Eardrum)
Executive Creative Directors: Nancy Hartley, James Burchill
Associate Creative Directors/Art Directors: Cristian Staal, Ralphie Barnett
Senior Copywriter: Marianne Harvey
Senior Digital Producer: Mark McCarthy
Ux/Front End Developer: Dan Treichel
Account Manager: Melissa Sealey
Agency Producer: Melissa Ashman
Back End Developer: Amber Gregory
Designer: Derek Leong
Digital Art Director: Thomas Marcusson
Audio Producer: Lisa Lepore (Eardrum)
Sound Engineer: Michael Bates
Editor: Chad Twentyman

9 Comments

wish said:

Bloody great idea. I just wish wish wish it had been better executed.

SB said:

Agree with 8:41. So close.

Kate said:

Love the idea, but there should be more resources on the site than a form to email to someone to let them know you've been bullied. It irks me that there are three ways to share the campaign, but only one 'help' option and not a very useful one at that.

Poor form guys - you've let the creative get in the way of actually helping people.

Marianne said:

Hi Kate, resources will be added to the site as anti-bully organisations take advantage of the tool. We've had a good response so far, so will be updating this today. Thanks for your feedback.

Bullied said:

This really got me!
It fully took me back over 25 years to my high school days and fired me up enough to want to do something about bullying. The personalisation tool is the icing on the cake.

Also bullied said:

Yeah that's what it was like. It's a really great re-enactment. Makes me feel sick and angry and sad all over again. Thanks for that :)

What I don't understand though, is how this is helpful. Kids being bullied aren't exactly proud of it. They feel really shit and helpless. My dad always told me to fight back. I was too scared to. I just couldn't see how I could win. Even when the bullies were spoken to by their own parents and agreed not to hurt me, they still fucked with my head and made me feel shit - like a wimp under parental protection. The last thing I would have wanted to do is tweet it or Facebook it. So this is obviously not aimed at the victims themselves. Is it?

Which makes me ask, how is this helpful? It's not as if bullying is a new subject. It's one of the most talked about children's topics at school and has been for years. Every kid knows 10 other people's bullying stories. So how will this make things better.

Is it about applying social pressure (Kony 2012 style) to get something more effective done? If so, what? I'm not trying to be a CB blog troll here, it's just that I don't get how this will help... and I really wish that it or something would.

I know you Sapient Nitro people are really clever, nice and considered. So I'm hoping you can enlighten me. If it makes sense to me, I'll advocate on behalf of the campaign. If not, I hope you keep going to find a way to do something with the attention this could get :)

Marianne said:

Hi ‘also bullied’. We appreciate you telling your story. And thanks for the chance to tell ours a little more.

The first step we took was to consult with a bullying professional who runs roleplay workshops at schools. We learnt that in these workshops, they put kids into bully situations and reinforce that if it happens to them, they need to speak up and tell someone they trust.

Although it wasn’t the case for you, in many cases, kids are too scared to tell anyone about it. And so they have no chance of getting any help or improving their situation. So our number 1 message is to motivate kids to speak up if they have been bullied or if they’re bullied in the future. Bullies get away with it when no-one talks so when the earphone bully asks, ‘what are you gonna do about it?’, the one thing people can actually do is speak up. It’s not a one-size fits all solution but it will make a difference in many situations.

So this is the message we are encouraging people to share with their friends over social networks to get everyone really talking about the issue – which is happening more these days, but still not enough. Or if a kid is being bullied, the site prompts them to take the first step and send a simple email to raise the alarm.

The other thing it’s doing is building empathy. As Lucy from Project Rockit said, empathy is at the core of motivating people to actually stand up to bullies. And it has been noted that if a bystander steps in, a bully situation can be defused faster than anything else. So we hope by helping to build empathy, other students won’t accept bullying in their schools.

Earphone bully can also be used by parents. It’s a tool for a parent to sit down and play it to their kids in a safe environment. It gives parents an insight into what could be happening and it’s a bit of an ice-breaker to talk about bullying with their kid. We offer advice on the site about how they can do this. Again, there are too many situations where parents are oblivious to their kid’s situation because the warning signs are being moody which can apply to most teens.

Schools are also being more proactive about bullying these days and taking a tougher stance on bullies, only as a result of parents and kids speaking up and demanding action. So we designed it to be freely available for any anti-bully organisation to use when working with kids, schools or parents. They can get their own url with their support details added as well.

So sorry for the essay, but although it’s a simple question it’s not really a simple answer. But I hope it makes sense.

Thanks for reading,
Marianne

Also bullied said:

Thanks Marianne.

I hope it works.

It'd be interesting to hear from ex-bullies in the stories section as well. I know of a couple whose lives turned out pretty badly for them because they couldn't manage relationships (business and personal). It turned out the core reason behind the bullying was themselves being disempowered to begin with. Typically, the bully is a kid in some sort of need as well.

Good luck with the campaign :)

? said:

Who's the client?

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