Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the internet were a nicer place? This is the thinking behind Be Cool Be Nice, a charitable foundation, interactive book, app and associated social media campaign that is bringing together a wide range of names from the worlds of fashion and entertainment to counteract the phenomenon of online bullying. It’s arrival is timely – a recent study by UK-based organisation Ditch the Label revealed that up to 17 per cent of school-age children have experienced cyberbullying, particularly on social media networks such as Facebook and Instagram. In the same study, it 69 per cent of the entire 10,000-odd respondents said they had done something abusive towards another person online. It’s clearly time for an attitude change.
Be Cool Be Nice is aiming to do this through the medium of fun, with a book packed full of illustrations of cute characters that come to life via the accompanying app, which can be used to scan pages and launch videos from its influential (and stylish) contributors, including Messrs Lenny Kravitz, Marc Jacobs and Neil Barrett and Kingsman costume designer Ms Arianne Phillips. The overarching message is to encourage teens to embrace their own uniqueness and celebrate it in others, as well as to use the many tools we have at our disposal to celebrate friendships rather than test them.
The UK launch of the book and the start of Anti-Bully Week 2017 are being marked with an event at the House of Lords tonight, hosted by HRH Princess Beatrice and Dame Natalie Massenet. But, of course, you don’t have to be there to participate – simply follow the instructions in the book and use the hashtag – #becoolbenice. It’s as easy as it sounds.