Teen Activism #BestoftheWeb: Maisie Williams, Kylie Jenner and Jazz Jennings

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Coincidence or sign of the times?  This week’s spotlight shines brightly on four teens just named on Time’s annual list:  Most Influential Teens of 2015.  Each of our featured young women, ranging from 15 to 19 years old, has moved well beyond the perks of fame into heart-felt activism, influenced by personal experience.  The very same channels of social media that drove them to stardom also exposed them to severe cyberbullying.  Take a look at the pop culture heroines who bravely leverage their celebrity to help people deal with online abuse.

  1. ‘Game of Thrones’ Actress Maisie Williams Reveals She Was a Victim of Cyberbullying – ABC News

The sword-wielding Arya Stark of ‘Game of Thrones’ is doing more than just speak out on her experience with online haters.  She took the lead role in a one-off British television film entitled Cyberbully, which premiered in January 2015.  Maisie is quite vocal about the vulnerabilities that even celebrities feel when reading derogatory and sometimes horrific comments about themselves online.

  1. Kylie Jenner Starts Anti-Bullying Campaign on Instagram: ‘Let’s Do This’ – People

Kylie launched her #IAmMoreThan campaign in October 2015, in time for National Bullying Prevention Month.  Leading up to the event, she posted a candid Snapchat video telling about being bullied since the age of nine.  She heavily identifies with others under harsh public scrutiny and prides herself on getting through it pretty well.  Earlier in the year, Kylie’s photo-sharing app hit number one on launch day with more than 34 million followers, surpassing all her sisters in sales.  Likewise, she observed the online hate targeted at her father Bruce Jenner as he transitioned into Caitlyn Jenner.  No doubt, Kylie understands the impact that she can have on an issue that hits so close to home.



  1. Jazz Jennings On Being Bullied – The Meredith Vieira Show

Jazz Jennings is quite possibly the most heavily targeted and criticized young woman by cyberbullies to date.  At age five, she was one of the youngest children diagnosed with, what is now called, Gender Dysphoria.  The transgender teen has been open season for scrutiny since her Barbara Walters interview in 2007 at age six.  Jazz attributes her ability to overcome online and offline haters to her strong sense of self, her family and her close-knit group of friends.  She documents her daily struggles and ongoing journey on her YouTube page and hit TLC series “I Am Jazz.’

  1. Bethany Mota Opens Up About Depression + Being Cyber Bullied – Pop Crush

Bethany Mota wears many hats as a famous fashion/beauty Youtuber, designer and public speaker, yet she always finds time to educate others on surviving through cyberbullying.  Bethany started her YouTube channel in 2011 at age 14 and has amassed over 10 million subscribers.  According to Pop Crush, “A few years before her YouTube channel really took off, she was cyber bullied by a group of her supposed friends.  Things got so bad that she suffered intensely from daily bouts of panic attacks, severe anxiety and depression.”  Making and posting the YouTube videos gave her a therapeutic outlet of creativity.  Take a look at one of her early videos.  She shares her personal experience of cyberbullying and the confidence she gained through her recovery:

Latina Magazine featured Bethany with a full cover story which shares her experience with cyberbullying in the September 2015 issue:


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