#ICANHELP is a program designed to educate and empower young people and adults to use social media positively by providing necessary tools and framework to guide and support young people in developing their authentic online presence and personal identity. #ICANHELP is a non-profit founded by former teachers Kim Karr and Matt Soeth because of major issues they saw with social media. Through their endeavors #ICANHELP has trained over 400,000 students to be #digitalfirstresponders.
#ICANHELP began when a student created a fake Facebook page ‘for’ a teacher at the school where Kim was teaching. When she asked her students why this happened they told her it was because they didn’t like the teacher. This fake account had about a thousand followers and the page was up for about two weeks. Finally a student came to Kim, who was afraid to originally say anything, because he thought he would be made fun of for going to an adult for help.
I had to flat out tell him, you probably will get made fun of
Kim said, “I had to flat out tell him, you probably will get made fun of but you will find out who your real friends are and who your friends aren’t” Kim went one step further and asked her students what they liked about this teacher and as they realized what they did like about this teacher they began to support the teacher.
A year later a fake Instagram account was made of the same teacher and this time it had zero followers and was taken down in 40 minutes. The reason for this quick response was because the students began posting comments that they were not okay with the account and that they were letting school administration know about the fake account.
The students came up with #ICANHELP as an easy way to comment on posts that are inappropriate. Kim and Mark can’t see a hashtag but if the students tag @icanhelpofficial on Instagram, Facebook, or Youtube Kim and Mark receive a notification and know that a student is asking for help.
#ICANHELP is an official trusted site and when they report to a social media company an inappropriate post or fake account they get the immediate help they need in taking down the post or account. To date and because students are empowered to make positive change, over 900 accounts or posts have been taken down.
#ICANHELP also comes alongside parents with resources to help parents help keep their kids safe on social media. Listed are 8 guidelines #ICANHELP encourages parents to follow.
- Follow/friend your child on ANY social media site