Bulgarian hashtag campaign against provocative selfies

  • Awareness
  • 30/03/2016
  • Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre

For teenagers, it's extremely important to be popular and accepted by others. Nowadays, this is easier than ever, with likes, stickers and hashtags becoming the modern expressions of approval. 

However, the desire for wider ‘approval' pushes young people looking for attention to engage in potentially risky practices, such as the sharing of sexual or revealing images online. Often even those young people who do not approve of this practice, upload similarly provocative pictures to get ‘likes' from their peers as they believe that 'everybody is doing it'.
'#облечисебе' ('Dress up!') is a campaign, developed by the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) in partnership with teenagers from six schools in Sofia, who came up with the hashtag campaign idea and approved the design of the campaign materials. It aims to fight the stereotype that young people can collect likes and be popular on the internet only if they upload provocative and revealing pictures.
The reasoning behind this campaign is that the risks arising from the practice of uploading sexualised images are very real for boys and girls alike:
  • They can become targets of cyberbullying by peers and/or unknown users.
  • Their reputation could be damaged and they might no longer be accepted among their friends.
  • Removing digital content is very difficult and it is likely that such images will remain online forever.
  • Their pictures might end up on pornographic websites.
  • They can be extorted for money or sexual favours.
  • They could attract the interest of peadophiles and criminals, who look for victims for sexual abuse and trafficking.
The hashtag '#облечисебе' ('Dress up') is a way to prove that one can be cool, funny and accepted without getting undressed. The Bulgarian youth panel challenge their peers to join the campaign by dressing up in many layers of clothing, taking a selfie and publishing it on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the campaign hashtag.
The National campaign for counteracting contemporary methods of gender-based violence is realised with the financial aid of the Norway Grants programme.
Read more about the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre.

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