More teens and kids around the world are on the Internet, so why not start there? - Zoë
We're so excited to introduce you to Zoë Zvosechz (pronounced ZO-ee ZA-vose-ICK), MEDIA MAKE CHANGE's brand new youth correspondent!
Zoë, 14-years-old, was born in Germany from a U.S. military family currently living in El Paso, Texas. She loves soccer, writing, and JUSTIN BIEBER! Zoë also enjoys hanging out with her friends. She describes herself as "often online and posting things on my [Facebook] page, ImmaTeen, and talking to the admins." Zoë enjoys being around family and friends, and aspires to work with young people in need of support.
We recently came across Zoë's Facebook page, ImmaTeen, which brings together young people from all around the country to speak out against bullying. ImmaTeen has garnered over 11,000 likes on Facebook and continues to grow in popularity among teens around the country.
Zoë has also produced (yes, produced!) an anti-bullying digital video, Stop the Tears and End the Fears, which features teens holding up signs that reads "victim" as a way to respond to being bullied in and out of school.
Zoë's work is a prime example of how young people are using social and digital media to transgress conformity and transform communities from the inside-out. It was only natural for us to reach out and ask Zoë if she'd like to be MMC's official youth correspondent. She happily accepted, and we're so delighted to feature her voice, insights, and super cool name on Media Speaks!
We recently had a chance to chat with Zoë about her work and about what she hopes to bring to MMC's community. Check out what she had to say below!
First of all, you are a superstar! We're so excited about the work you're doing using social and digital media. You are the co-creator of ImmaTeen, a Facebook group with over 11K "Likes" that offers teens an alternative space to express themselves and also supports young people who have been victims of online and offline bullying. Can you tell us a little bit about how ImmaTeen came about?
Zoë: When I created ImmaTeen, it was just for fun. Many people were just making pages like ImmaTeen, and these pages were getting so many likes. So I thought, "Why not give it a try?" So I did! I added admins to the page to help me get it up and running, and they're all still on the site. One of the admins was seriously bullied so I went on YouTube to watch videos about young teens being bullied. After watching the bullying videos, I wanted to use the likes on ImmaTeen for good use. I wanted to bring bullying awareness to everybody! I posted my video that I have linked on YouTube to ImmaTeen. Those featured in the video are all fans of the page, and they all have been victimized in some way.
How on earth did you manage to cultivate an online community of over 11K teens on Facebook? That's amazing!
Zoë: My friends and "admins" of the site helped me gain Likes on Facebook! The admins are still part of the Facebook page today. I shared the page around Facebook and asked friends to like and to join the conversation.
What do you hope to accomplish with ImmaTeen? Are you using other social networks to expand ImmaTeen's influence?
Zoë: I hope to spread awareness about bullying and just bring a smile to young people's faces. I want to start a program at my school to address bullying, and to continue to just help young people smile. I'm using my Twitter (@ImmaTeenQuotes) and Tumblr accounts to help spread the word about ImmaTeen.
MMC recently featured a piece, "To Live and Die in Social Media" about the Amanda Todd and Felicia Garcia suicide tragedies, what did you think about these tragedies? Is there anything we can learn from them?
Zoë: I almost cried because of what they went through. To kill yourself over bullying? It really hurts. Really bad. We need to stay strong and not give up. Even if Amanda Todd and Felicia Garcia may have given up, we shouldn't.
What can adults and educators do to support and better engage young people who use social and digital media?
Zoë: Adults should have more school assemblies about bullying and start support groups on the Internet. More teens and kids around the world are on the Internet, so why not start there?
What are some ways young people can be proactive in addressing issues confronting youth?
Zoë: We can talk to each other about how we feel. Young people should have a say in what we are confronted with. Take the election for example, we have a say in the political process even though we can't vote. We still can have an opinion and share it with other people our own age.
We're so excited to have you on board as our official youth correspondent and contributing writer! As MMC's new youth correspondent, what topics would you like to explore, write about, and report on?