Today Beatbullying marks the start of Anti-Bullying Week with The Big March: the world's first virtual protest march for children's rights.
Protesters including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, key figures from the private, charity and public sectors, celebrities and teachers are marching alongside tens of thousands of children and young people who have had enough of being bullied, harassed, intimidated, beaten up and violated.
The protesters, including Parentdish's own avatar, will walk across the web and deliver a letter and petition to the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.
Throughout the day, avatars of the marchers (who can be viewed on YouTube) will make their way across over 60partner websites, including Action for Children, MTV, the Office of the Children's Commissioner and our very own AOL in the first digital connected takeover of its kind.
The petition calls for Government 'to take immediate action to protect children and young people from the bullying, violence and harassment of young people, by young people'. Beatbullying is also calling for an inter-departmental Anti-Bullying Review to be established, and for new legislation to be introduced where appropriate, in the form of a School Safety Bill and a Cyber Bullying Act to protect children (and teachers) while they are at school or online. Beatbullying believes that it should be explicitly against the law to bully, abuse or harass a pupil or teacher in or around school, or online, via mobile phones or other digital technologies.
The marchers will be joined by stars of the entertainment and sports world including Aston Merrygold, Alesha Dixon, Freddie Flintoff and Lee Westwood, as well as Pixie Lott who last week donated her exclusive track 'Get Weak' as the official Big March anthem.
Emma-Jane Cross, Chief Executive of Beatbullying, commented: "Today hundreds of thousands of people are sending a loud and clear message to Government. Beatbullying has been overwhelmed by the support we have had in the past two months for our Big March campaign – a massive 750,00 people are supporting our campaign, which must clearly demonstrate to Government the imperative need to act now to protect some of our most vulnerable children and young people.
"Six months ago the Coalition Programme for Government clearly expressed the Government's intention to tackle the bullying which is so widespread and insidious across both UK schools and the internet – a commitment which we at Beatbullying welcomed. Sadly what we continue to see instead are headlines after headlines of children taking their own live because of the barrage of bullying they are experiencing both on and offline. This can be stopped. £2.79 pays for Beatbullying to respond to a child that comes to cybermentors.org.uk.org , our unique peer to peer mentoring site because they are being bullied - last year there were over 715,000 requests alone for help.
"As many as 30 of under- 14s would even be prepared to carry a weapon in order to protect themselves. These statistics highlight the urgent need for an Anti-Bullying Review. This would see representatives from Government, universities, charities, working with parents, schools and young victims of bullying, to develop a cross-departmental strategy and implementing long-term solutions to bullying, including but not limited to the potential introduction of legislation in the form of a Schools' Safety Bill and Cyber Bullying Act.
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