Adolescence has always been a time of questioning. But these days, young people are searching for answers to a new and confusing set of problems.
Some girls are sending me mean texts and Facebook messages. I don’t respond, but it’s starting to hurt. What do I do?
I sent someone “dirty pictures” on my phone, what can I do?
My gf constantly wants to go through my phone and when I tell her no she thinks I’m hiding something.
A Thin Line is MTV’s far-reaching campaign to fight bullying, abuse and discrimination in the digital age. It raises awareness about the painful costs of cyberbullying, sexting and dating abuse, and provides answers that can help young people deal with dilemmas previous generations never had to face.
The campaign has stoked an ongoing national conversation and mobilized more than 1.5 million young people to take action. With MTV as its megaphone, the network’s on-air specials, including the original movie DISconnected, have reached more than 35 million viewers and have been streamed 800,000 times. And campaign PSAs have aired over 1,000 times, reaching tens of millions of young people.
MTV’s A Thin Line has inspired over 1.5 million young people to take action and help stop the spread of digital abuse.
The heart of the campaign is online at athinline.org. Powerful and engaging, the site is a vital source of information and a sounding board for countless young people. It provides facts about several facets of digital abuse — sexting, constant messaging, spying, digital disrespect and cruelty; offers advice on dealing with abuse and links to organizations that can help; features stories, questions and statements posted by readers; poses questions about digital ethics, asking young people to draw the line between innocent and inappropriate behavior; and encourages young people to take an active role in the MTV Digital Rights Project, a crowdsourced effort to define the fundamental rights everyone should enjoy in a connected world.
The website has won numerous awards, including a Webby for Best Youth Website and four Beacon Awards. It has been recognized by President Obama, and is a top referrer of chats to the National Dating Abuse Helpline.
The campaign as a whole is making a deep impression on people across the country. Alexa Homeyer, a sophomore at the University of Arkansas, was particularly affected by DISconnected, MTV’s movie about four teens connected by a live streaming site who are forced to confront the consequences of their online lives when one webcasts his suicide while being egged on by a digital mob. After seeing the movie, Alexa went online and uploaded a video to talk about a close friend’s suicide and how viewers could help keep similar tragedies from happening.
“I did the video on YouTube because [DISconnected] made an impact on me,” she said. “Even after I posted the video, I looked up more about [digital abuse]. I was just surprised that there were people who think it’s a game. They egg these people on, [and] then these people actually do commit suicide.”
A Thin Line’s goal is not just to sensitize young people to digital abuse — it’s to involve young people in actively drawing the line against hurtful behavior. Sofia, a 17-year-old from Brush Prairie, Washington, certainly got the message. “It opened my eyes more to see what it looks like when people are affected by things on the Internet,” she said. “It also made me want to help others who are dealing with problems online.”
Actual dialogue posted on a social networking site:
ATTENTION FACEBOOK! Alison lost her virginity to Mike.
plz continue to spread this
Alison is a dirty f*#king slut!
It was her “first time!”
What a coincidence, dude. It was her first time with me too!
her face is a #FAIL