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A proactive, peer to peer curriculum designed to educate and empower students to use social media positively.

Empowerment and Digital Wellness

location_on United States
The #ICANHELP curriculum is a proactive curriculum specifically designed by teachers to prevent negativity and spread positivity and digital citizenship in schools. The lessons in the curriculum will connect offline behavior with online behavior, encouraging deep thought, reflection, and positive change.
Kim Karr, Co-Founder Executive Director #ICANHELP
We experienced the rapid increase in social media use and the stress and anxiety that negative online behavior puts on school cultures. Students need to be part of the solution.

Kim Karr, Co-Founder Executive Director #ICANHELP

Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2021

HundrED 2020

Digital Wellbeing

Key figures

Innovation Overview

12 - 18
Age Group
450 000
Children/Users
2
Countries
2013
Established
Not-for-profit
Organisation
1 229
Views
Updated on January 15th, 2021
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about the innovation

Peer to Peer Digital Citizenship Curriculum

Overview

#ICANHELP is creating a generation that’s not only tech-savvy but knows how to use Digital4Good. Our programs bridge the gap between knowing how to use social media and technology and learning how to use them positively to build strong school communities and become good digital citizens.

What is #ICANHELP?

Negative online behavior is linked to higher levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and suicide in kids and teens. Just because students understand the mechanics of social media and digital technology doesn’t mean they know how to deal with issues like cyberbullying, harassment, privacy, and safety. #ICANHELP’s mission is to empower students with the tools and training they need to protect themselves, develop their digital media toolkit, and use social media positively.

Student-led Empowerment

Our Digital Citizenship Student Curriculum puts students in the driver’s seat. It has over 50 peer-to-peer workshops, activities, and lesson plans on digital citizenship to help students build positive communities both on AND offline. It teaches them to connect offline behavior with online behavior and explore the impact their actions⁠—both positive and negative⁠—have on themselves and their peers. Students learn how to respond to negativity, report inappropriate behavior, and positive, safe ways to engage in social media.

Student-powered Community

To support kids’ and teens’ emotional and mental wellbeing outside of the classroom, #ICANHELP also has a social media community run by Student Interns. These student leaders design and run social campaigns to grow and amplify #ICANHELP’s impact. From fun challenges and instructional videos to sharing how students are using social media to create positive change, their mission is to engage with as many kids as possible and create a world-wide youth community that uses #Digital4Good.

Lead interns are supported by a team of student volunteers who help create engaging, positive content for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and more. Not only do students make an impact and help grow our online community, but they develop their writing, design, project management, and technical skills.

Each year, our interns and volunteers collaborate with a team of adult mentors from companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter to put on our annual #Digital4Good Summit that recognizes outstanding student organizations who are using social media and digital technology to drive positive change in their communities. This LiveStream event showcases student initiatives, educational panels, and keynote speakers to help spread awareness and amplify #ICANHELP’s reach and impact.

Research

HundrED Academy Review

Very holistic and well-structured program (as far as I can see from the outside). Not only for educating the students but also the teachers training and parental education, this approach is much needed globally. We would love to have this innovation in package in many languages.

- HundrED Academy Member

The reach of the project in the last 6 years has clearly been huge as has the impact with those that the group have worked with. Supporting pupils to reflect and consider the way that they can help develop positivity within others is a wonderful concept.

- HundrED Academy Member
IMPACT & SCALABILITY
Empowerment and Digital Wellness educates and encourages students to use social media in a positive way. Highly practical within the school context and developing a culture of togetherness and not of division. Over 400000 students in two countries have used the innovation demonstrating some degree of scalability so far.
Academy review results
Scalability
Impact
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
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Media

See this innovation in action

Bridging the Gap, Building Connections: Empowering Students to Use Technology for Good
In our efforts to adjust to the new normal brought about by COVID-19, our day-to-day interactions have become almost entirely digital. There are Zoom calls in place of meetings; in place of classroom discussions, there are Flipgrid videos and Canvas forums. As we spend more and more time online, it’s critical to know how to stay safe, stay connected, and stay positive. At #ICANHELP, our mission is to empower students and support educators in promoting digital safety and online positivity. Our organization was founded in 2013 when a student created a harmful page to impersonate a teacher on Facebook. The account accumulated over a thousand followers and didn’t get removed until two weeks later. A year later, the same page reappeared on Instagram—only this time, students were equipped with the tools and knowledge to stop the bullying early and got the page taken down in less than an hour. Since its founding, #ICANHELP has worked with students to take down over 800 pages dealing with harassment, impersonation, bullying, and other cyber issues. We strive not just to protect students but to empower them with a common-sense approach to social media. In this article, we’ll explore how you can connect with students at your school and empower them to stay safe and be responsible, respectful digital citizens. Closing the Distance with Virtual Advising With the onset of the pandemic, distance learning and hybrid learning have quickly become the norm, forcing students and educators to transition to a complex new learning environment. It’s important to let students know you’re there for them during this challenging and often lonely time. Here are a few ways to be a pillar of support for your students. First, take the initiative to extend a helping hand. Encourage students to reach out to you whenever they need support or advice. Make yourself available for them to contact you with any questions or concerns about homework, projects, or the virtual classroom platform. It’s a good idea to send an email to students describing your availability and willingness to help. Include a link to your Zoom meeting room in your message. Additionally, make sure that you’re familiar with Zoom’s various features (or any other program that the school is using for the virtual classroom, such as Flipgrid) so that you can provide virtual support to students who need it. You can also connect students to other useful resources, such as online tutoring. If any of your students struggle with their coursework, let them know whom they can contact for academic guidance. Social media is a great tool you can use to get in touch with alumni who can tutor your students. Make a post describing your students’ need for tutoring services. (Many students have formed community pages or groups for alumni on social media sites—be sure to take advantage of these.) Alternatively, if you know of a former student who excelled in a particular subject, you can message them directly. Remember, there’s always someone willing to help! Some of these former students may even be hanging on to old textbooks or notes from their classes. Navigating Social Media Safely and Securely Social media is an excellent tool for maintaining a sense of community at your school, especially when you’re unable to meet in person. As we protect our physical safety by adhering to social distancing guidelines, we must practice good judgment and protect our digital security. The following tips apply to teenagers and adults alike when navigating the digital world. Guard your personal information. This includes full names, passwords, phone numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, and school names (abbreviations of school names are an exception). Avoid putting this information on your profile or sharing it via text or private message. Create a strong password. Choosing the right password isn’t an easy task. You need to strike the right balance between a complicated password and one that’s easy to remember. One trick is to think of a simple sentence (“I went to France when I was thirteen”), abbreviate it by taking the first letter of every word (“IwtFwIwt”), then add numbers and symbols to the abbreviation to complicate it further (“Iw2FwIw13#”). Remember not to use the same password for multiple sites. Use two-factor authentication whenever possible. Once you’ve set this up, you’ll receive a text with a code every time someone tries to log into your account. This extra layer of protection helps ensure that you’re the only one who has access to it. Control your visibility. Some social media sites, such as Instagram, supply users with the option to make their accounts private. This means that only the people who follow that user are allowed to view that person’s posts. The user can also choose who follows their account in the first place. Making your account private may result in a smaller follower count, but the good news is that your posts will only be visible to people you trust. Be cautious about sharing your whereabouts. Check your privacy, security, and GPS settings on your phone and social media accounts. Make sure you’re only allowing trusted friends and family members to view your location. Watch what you post. Often, colleges and employers will check potential students’ or employees’ social media accounts to see whether their online behavior reflects the image they put forward in interviews and applications. Whether your students are applying to colleges or searching for jobs, make sure they’re aware of this fact. Inappropriate or offensive online behavior may result in a rescinded job or admission offer. Empowering Students to Be Digital First Responders In addition to promoting digital safety, we also train students to become “Digital First Responders.” A Digital First Responder has the knowledge, courage, and passion for identifying harmful social media incidents and responding appropriately, leading by example to inspire their peers. So how can you, as an educator, empower your students to become Digital First Responders? You can start by instilling in them the following principles. First, know what distinguishes a funny post from a rude or cruel one. There’s a difference between jokes made among friends and remarks made with cruel intent. With the former, you feel comfortable laughing along. But if a person’s words make someone feel hurt or upset, this is a sign that the joke has gone too far. To discern whether an incident counts as cyberbullying, ask yourself one simple question: if someone made that comment to you or a loved one in real life, how would you feel? If it doesn’t feel right, it most likely isn’t. Additionally, pay attention to how the person targeted by the comment reacts—or whether they respond at all. Second, know how to respond to digital negativity. When you notice someone being bullied or teased in real life, how do you handle the situation? You’ll most likely step in to defend the victim, make sure everyone is safe, and report the incident to a school administrator. You might also check to see if the targeted person needs any additional support from a counselor. The same is true for digital interactions. If you see someone targeted online, check in with them via text or direct message (DM) to make sure they’re okay, and respond to the bully directly by defending the target and asking the bully to stop. A key step in this action plan is reporting. Students need to know how to report harmful and inappropriate digital content. Inform students of the following three strategies for reporting online negativity: Report to school faculty. Tell a trusted teacher, adviser, counselor, or administrator about what happened. Include important details of the incident so that the faculty member can respond accordingly. Report to website moderators. Most social media sites give users the option to report abuse or spam. Each website and app has different guidelines for reporting posts, comments, or profiles. Visit the site’s Help Center to familiarize yourself with its reporting system. Report to #ICANHELP. Our organization is a verified safety program that can take down negative online content. Comment on the post (or reply to the comment) with @icanhelp. You may also message #ICANHELP directly, including a screenshot of the comment or post in your message. If a student reports a negative comment or post to you, make sure to have a conversation with the student who made that content. Explain to them why the post is harmful to those involved. If the harassment continues, you may need to speak to the bully’s parents. Digital Citizenship in Action Now that you’re familiar with how to respond to online negativity, let’s explore the different forms it can take. Let’s look at several cyber issues that many students have encountered in the past and will most likely experience in the future. The first scenario we’ll examine is perhaps one of the most common: receiving rude and offensive comments on a post. Chances are, if you’re active on social media, you’ve seen them or been the recipient of one. Most comments that people share are short and superficial, but their impact often travels much deeper. There are multiple ways to deal with this form of cyberbullying effectively. Whether a student is the target of a mean-spirited comment or is friends with the target, they can report the comment and the author’s page. They should encourage their other friends to do so as well. The more people who report the content, the faster it can get taken down. Additionally, if a student wishes to take a more direct approach, they can privately message the perpetrator or reply to the comment, respectfully and firmly requesting that they stop. If the perpetrator refuses, it’s a good idea to block them to prevent any further abuse. In the next scenario, a student receives a message goading them to injure or kill themselves. Suicide among teens is a serious and disturbingly prevalent issue—it’s the second leading cause of death from ages 10-24. Some people will write off these messages as a joke, but it’s critical that perpetrators understand their words’ full weight and impact. Privately message the commenter, informing them of the seriousness of the situation. In this situation, it’s best to reach out to the person whom the bully targeted as well. Call or send them a message to check up on them and ask if they need support from a counselor. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 for anyone to call, whether someone is considering suicide or is concerned about a friend’s safety. This lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. If a student prefers to communicate via text, they can connect with a crisis counselor by texting HOME to 741741. Your students should be familiar with these numbers in case their friends, family members, peers, or they themselves need support in the future. For more information on digital safety and responsibility, sign up for our free 1-hour online course, Family Online Safety: A Commonsense Approach to Kids and Tech. This course is for parents and educators who want to empower kids and teens to delete online negativity and create safer, more inclusive spaces for everyone. In this course, you’ll learn about current social media trends, safety challenges and best practices, and strategies to connect with students about issues like cyberbullying and privacy. Sign up here to learn more about how you can support your students in becoming responsible digital citizens. Marisa McAdams #ICANHELP Public Relations Intern admin@icanhelp.net
Non-Profit #ICANHELP Student Interns Continue To Innovate Despite Quarantine Restrictions
COVID-19 has caused unimaginable disruption in America’s public education system. Students are now adapting to digital courses and virtual classrooms, for which no one, including teachers, was prepared. Students are now online 24/7, as technology has replaced both their educational and social interactions. Teachers, students, and families have little to no guidance or information on navigating this “new normal.” Enter the #ICANHELP student interns. #ICANHELP has been educating students, teachers, and communities on how to fight online negativity since 2013, but the coronavirus presented a new challenge. For the last seven years, the non-profit has spread its message of positive online interaction through assemblies and social media. How do you adapt these lessons to a fully online environment? The solution came from #ICANHELP’s student interns. The students, hailing from high school to graduate school, are connected by one purpose: to be online leaders in a world gone negative. While most of the country’s mentality is weighed down by understandable panic, isolation, and increasing partisanship, Lead Intern Malorie Bournizan saw the quarantine as an opportunity to expand #ICANHELP’s efforts. “During the shutdown, many students reached out to #ICANHELP eager to get involved and make an impact while at home,” Malorie comments. So, Malorie and interns from over 17 states and three countries came together to design curricula, engage on social media, and provide support to students, specifically covering topics relevant to today’s technological situations. As students return to school this fall, we face an unprecedented increase in online engagement and exposure to negative interactions due to virtual learning and isolation from others. The #ICANHELP interns are acting as guides in this new digital-first society by providing education, tools, and support to teens and communities. Interns have noticed that due to increased digital engagement, many people’s mental health is negatively affected. Their solution: create an online workbook to help teens and young adults recognize their anxiety, depression, and stress and provide tools to help them cope. Digital Media Intern Alexa Negrete realized that with a more online course load, students wouldn’t receive the same in-person training they usually would. So she developed a “Train the Trainer” system where students can learn information about identifying and fighting online negativity in a way that is easily teachable to their peers. “Research has proven that teens are more likely to turn to their peers about online problems over their parents,” Alexa notes, “So the best way to promote being a positive force online is to hear it from the trusted source.” With schools beginning again in September, especially with the many new formats education is taking, these issues, challenges, and concerns are only becoming more pressing. #ICANHELP is growing its student community with interns and student volunteers to provide a nationwide digital support network that gives students the tools and knowledge they need to thrive online. The organization is also working on creating more resources and tools to help students live and learn in this new digital environment. Co-founder Kim Karr likes to highlight that the organization is “student-run, student-led, student-initiative” based. “This generation of students is the first to have completely grown up surrounded by digital technology and understand how the mechanics of online interactions work,” she comments. “However, just because you understand how it works doesn’t mean you know the complex social structures and how to protect yourself online properly.” That’s why these digital natives, the #ICANHELP interns, have taken the time to learn these complexities and lead the way to a safer and more positive online space. Malorie says that moving forward, “I hope we can help students understand not only how we should act online, but also how they can be a force for good both in their online and offline communities.” In this time of considerable uncertainty and unrest, the #ICANHELP interns have been able to make positive changes and help more students and educators than ever. For more information or to schedule an interview to help us spread the word about how students can engage and learn to use digital for good at home and in school, please email #ICANHELP Co-founder Kim Karr.
Prevent Youth Suicide and Spread Positivity: Call to Companies and Individuals to Champion #Digital4Good and Use #TechToConnect with #ICANHE
Teen suicides are on the rise at an alarming pace, and even experts are having a hard time detecting why this has happened. Due to this increase, suicide is now the second leading cause of death among young adults.  Although we may not know the cause, we know how to play a role in forming the solution, and it starts with reaching students where they are -- online. #ICANHELP supports educators in their effort to empower students to use digital tools and resources for good. We have helped around 450,000 youth spread positivity online and delete negativity through assemblies, training, campaigns, and more. In addition to assemblies and curriculum, #ICANHELP hosts the annual #Digital4Good Awards, which recognizes youth from across the country who use digital tools to help their peers and surrounding communities. Efforts highlighted during #Digital4Good events have included transportation for veterans to receive medical care, antibullying campaigns, raising money to fight rare diseases, and much more. #ICANHELP has recently launched a new online community for educators and several online courses for teachers, administrators, and parents. But we need your help in this fight against negativity and suicide! Why Partner and Utilize #TechToConnect? We connect with others through tech, which is why we started using the hashtag #TechToConnect. We are using tech to connect with teachers and students to spread positivity and prevent suicide, and we need your help. Although our efforts have already had a significant impact on hundreds of thousands of youth, we all have more work to do. We are seeking to partner with companies and mentors for the following purposes: Sponsorships Host monthly calls with our lead interns to help with their projects Marketing for #Digital4Good Video editing Graphic design Web design support Grant writing Press release and content creation #ICANHELP believes that students are not the future; they are the RIGHT NOW. We should be empowering them to do their best work and to change their world. We can accomplish more together. Partner today with #ICANHELP to empower youth to change their world and ours. Get started today by contacting #ICANHELP here! - Kim Karr #ICANHELP Co-Founder 
2018 #Digtial4Good Recap hosted by Google
Uncap the Possibilities | By Aaron Judge
Sharpie and The Players’ Tribune have partnered to create a series around Uncap the Possibilities, which shows how a Sharpie gives people the power to unleash their imaginations and express how they’d like the world to be. Here, Aaron Judge discussed why #ICanHelp is more than just a hashtag, and is more a movement to create a new norm for how to delete negativity online.Watch the video here
#ICANHELP announces #Digtial4Good
Yankees Magazine: Something More to Give
MLB All-Star Aaron Judge's involvement with nonprofit #ICANHELP -- spreading positivity throughout American schools. 
Diverse Gaming Coalition
Abbey Perl used her experience as an online gamer to create online safety education materials for students across the US. https://youtu.be/P3_Yx3XtMNU
Oregon approves mental health days for students
Students in Oregon advocate for mental Health Days as an excused absence. Hear how students are leading the campaign to improve the conversation around mental health and digital wellness. 

Milestones

Achievements & Awards

December 2019
Digital Wellbeing
July 2019
Innovation page created on HundrED.org
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Steps

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Bring #ICANHELP Training to Your School
Empower students at schools across the country by bringing them #ICANHELP training and presentations, which are designed for teachers, administrators, students, and members of the community, and school curriculum.
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