Cartoon Network is gearing up for its seventh annual anti-bullying campaign.
The network's "Stop Bullying: Speak Up" — spanning October, which is National Bullying Prevention Month — will center on themes of communication, friendship and inclusion as tools to combat bullying.
The network's on various platforms — the linear channel, VOD, mobile extensions and social media — will incorporate positive messages and actions for kids to help them speak up against bullying.
Every Saturday next month, starting Oct. 1, Cartoon Network will air a special hour of programming from 3-4 p.m. ET/PT including The Amazing World of Gumball, Steven Universe, Clarence, We Bare Bears and Teen Titans Go! Each episode will deliver a message focusing on positive peer relationships and the power of teamwork. The on-air programming also will be available on the Cartoon Network video app and VOD.
Additionally, "Stop Bullying: Speak Up" interstitials will spotlight messages from kids submitted via the CN Sayin' app that promote actions kids can take to stop bullying.
Meanwhile, Rebecca Sugar, who created Cartoon Network's Steven Universe, has created a series of "Fearless Self Expression" videos to engage viewers. The "how-to-draw" videos, launching Oct. 8, will teach kids ways to express themselves through artistic techniques while also spotlighting the importance of celebrating diversity, inclusion and speaking up against bullying.
Each week, Sugar will interact with fans on social media platforms and encourage active participation. At the end of the four-week series, Sugar will invite the fans to reflect on their work and share their creations.
"Expressing yourself through art, writing, music, dancing and other activities is very healthy!" Sugar tells fans. "Self-expression can help you understand yourself and help others understand you too. But putting yourself out there is scary. You could feel exposed. Someone could make fun of you. Speaking up is hard when what you have to say is very personal. How do you express yourself without fear? For 'Stop Bullying,' I'd like to speak up with a four-week strategy for fearless self expression! These are tips and tricks I use to keep drawing, even when I start to feel afraid."
Kids also can take a pledge to speak up on StopBullyingSpeakUp.com, which also provides tools to help kids put that pledge into action by providing ways to talk to adults and make new friends.