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East Bay Middle Schoolers’ Campaign Against Social Media Bullying Takes Off Statewide

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A Facebook employee demonstrates the new Instagram video option during a press event at Facebook headquarters on June 20, 2013 in Menlo Park, California. Facebook announced that its photo-sharing subsidiary Instagram will now allow users to take and share video. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A person holds up a smartphone displaying an Instagram photo. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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BYRON (CBS SF) – A group of middle school students in Contra Costa County who have had enough of online bullying  are on a mission to delete social media negativity with a campaign that is growing statewide.

Students at Excelsior Middle School in Byron began the group, called #Icanhelp, when a fake Facebook page was made making fun of one of the teachers at Excelsior.

#Icanhelp members, who call themselves ‘Positive Warriors,’ target negative posts or bullying on social media by reporting it to authorities or by posting positive messages to counter the negative posts.

The group came to the help of Excelsior student Jennifer Hansen when someone set up a fake hate profile of her, calling her vile names. #Icanhelp got the profile removed and made a fan page for her, getting her through a very lonely time.

When asked how important #Icanhelp is, “On a scale of 1-10 it’s a 20. It’s so important to me and my life,” said Hansen.

Image from a flyer provided by the #Icanhelp student group.

Image from a flyer provided by the #Icanhelp student group.

The school-wide campaign has now spread to more than 100 schools across the state, according to the group.

“I really think that if this campaign keeps growing, it could really change the world,” said #Icanhelp member Sami Gibbs.

The group now plans to turn their movement into a national campaign and are trying to contact celebrities to come on board and help them spread the word.

#Icanhelp also has set up an online fundraising page, with the money collected going toward setting up a central website, marketing and creating materials to distribute to students at other schools.

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