Seventeen magazine and ABC Family are joining forces in an effort to bring awareness to the youth issue of digital abuse and bullying. The initiative, Delete Digital Drama, will launch this summer in the magazine’s August 2011 issue and on the network beginning July 5th. As part of the campaign, ABC Family will premiere the two-hour original movie, Cyberbully, starring Emily Osment (“Hannah Montana”), Kelly Rowan (“The OC”) and Kay Panabaker (“No Ordinary Family”), premiering Sunday, July 17 at 8:00PM ET/PT. As part of the partnership, Seventeen will feature a multi-page story in the August issue of the magazine, which will include stories from readers and ABC Family talent about their own experiences with bullying.
“We hear so many tragic stories of teens who feel hurt, abused and victimized by bullies—and it has to end,” says Ann Shoket, Seventeen’s editor-in-chief. “ABC Family is such an important partner, and the young stars of its shows are such influential role models to help spread the word that teens and young people have the power to delete digital drama and stop cyberbullying in its tracks.”
“We’re proud to work with Seventeen in an effort to put an end to digital abuse,” said Michael Riley, president, ABC Family. “We recognize that we have a significant opportunity to shine a spotlight on a very troubling issue affecting our Millennial audience, and by engaging viewers, we can show them that with each step, big and small, we can all help put a stop to bullying.”
ABC Family’s two-hour original movie, Cyberbully, follows Taylor Hillridge (Osment), a teenage girl who falls victim to online bullying, and the cost it nearly takes on her and her family. Taylor is a pretty 17-year-old high school student but a little awkward, and painfully aware of it. When her mom gives her a computer for her birthday, Taylor is excited by the prospect of freedom and the independence of going online without her mother always looking over her shoulder. However, Taylor soon finds herself the victim of betrayal and bullying while visiting a social website, and afraid to face her peers at school, including her best friend (Panabaker), she is pushed to a breaking point. It’s only after this life-changing event that Taylor learns that she is not alone – meeting other teens, including a classmate, who have had similar experiences. Taylor’s mom, Kris (Rowan), reels from the incident and takes on the school system and state legislation to help prevent others from going through the same harrowing ordeal as her daughter. Cyberbully was written by Teena Booth and directed by Charles Binamé. Executive producers are Michael Prupas and Joel Rice.
The network will debut a PSA during Cyberbully featuring its star, Emily Osment. In the public service announcement, Osment will direct viewers to StompoutBullying.org, providing a direct resource for viewers and readers to reach out for help, if necessary. For those who are in need of immediate help/assistance, they can go to the website or call the Stomp Out Bullying hotline at 855-790-HELP.
The Delete Digital Drama partnership with Seventeen will also feature a public service announcement to air on ABC Family in July and August that engages teens to do their part in helping to put an end to digital drama. Enlisted are a broad array of stars from its hit series, including “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and “Pretty Little Liars,” its new summer series including “The Nine Live of Chloe King,” “Switched at Birth,” and “The Lying Game,” and the network’s two-hour movie “Cyberbully,” to speak to the issue, each wearing a t-shirt that spells out the word [DELETE]. The public service announcement will air on the network, as well as online, and via mobile service. Additionally, both entities will also create an online presence both at ABCFamily.com and Seventeen.com, as well as support the cause through social media tactics on Facebook, Twitter, etc.