Facebook Offers Grants For Anti-Bullying Research

Educational institutions and non-profit organizations can apply for research grants from Facebook on the topic of bullying prevention. The deadline is next month and funds will be awarded in October.

Despite continued efforts to fight cyberbullying, the phenomenon rages on, so now Facebook is offering a $200,000 in grant money for groups to research bullying prevention.

Facebook announced this new grant during this week’s West Virginia Statewide Technology Conference.

The new program is being called “Digital Citizenship Research Grants,” and is open to non-profit organizations and educational institutions.

Individual grant amounts will range between $25,000 and $50,000, with a maximum of $200,000 awarded between all successful applicants.

The application deadline is just six weeks from the annoucement: September 12, 2011.

Facebook’s Safety Advisory Board, reportedly comprised of “external safety and children’s advocates,” will choose the winners by the end of October.

According to the official press release, Facebook is particularly interested in proposals related to:

  • online and offline bullying trends;
  • bullying prevention strategies;
  • the role of parents and educators in developing solutions,and
  • messages and outreach strategies to kids to address bullying.

Facebook is particularly interested in new insights with a global application. And the “extent to which the research is open sourced and shared broadly” is part of the judging criteria for the grants, according to the press release

The announcement included backing by Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia . The senator praised Facebook’s initiative and emphasizes “the need to expand our understanding of social media and its impact, both positive and negative,” according to Facebook’s press release.

Facebook’s efforts to fund research related to bullying comes under intense media exposure on the topic. ABC Family released a made-for-TV movie on cyberbullying in July; teen suicides related to cyberbullying have dominated morning talk shows for over a year. And Facebook is at the forefront of most of these discussions, so it makes sense for their publicity department to try to put a positive light on the company in this area.

Readers, what tactics do you think cyberbullying researchers should use to gain productive insights?