As millions of students head back to school, CustomInk, the “design online” custom t-shirt company for groups and occasions, today released the results of a national survey on teens’ experiences with bullying.

The survey finds that bullying is still a major issue among American teens in the 10 largest metro areas, with 83 percent saying they have been teased or bullied, and 72 percent saying they worry about being bullied by peers. While bullying is a common concern, teens also appear ready to do something about it, with 72 percent saying they would unite as a group to show they are against bullying (e.g. attending an event, joining a club, or social media activities).

To help teens stand up against bullying, CustomInk is launching its 4th annual Be Good to Each Other campaign. Coinciding with the back-to-school season and October’s National Bullying Prevention month, the campaign encourages student groups and others to take a stand for kindness and tolerance by designing and wearing custom bullying prevention t-shirts. CustomInk will handle the printing and fulfillment at cost, allowing 100 percent of profits from the sales of bullying prevention shirts to benefit CustomInk’s non-profit partner – PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, which unites, engages and educates communities nationwide to address bullying through its resources.

The campaign is supported by leading celebrities and athletes, including Justin Tucker and Dennis Pitta (Baltimore Ravens), Lauren Potter (Glee), and AnnaSophia Robb (The Carrie Diaries), who have designed custom t-shirts and are participating pro bono because they feel strongly about this issue.

“CustomInk is all about people coming together in positive ways, and this new survey illustrates the importance of group strength and action in solving the issue of bullying among American teens,” said CustomInk co-founder and CEO Marc Katz. “Our Be Good to Each Other campaign uses the power of custom t-shirts to bring people together and help stop bullying.”

Last year, the Be Good to Each Other campaign united thousands of people through custom bullying prevention t-shirts, and raised more than $40,000 for PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.

“We are excited to work with CustomInk again to help spread a message of kindness and understanding among teens nationwide,” said Julie Hertzog, Director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. “While we have made great strides in raising awareness over the past years, the work is not yet complete. By encouraging students to band together, we hope to show the strong impact they can make as a united front to help stop bullying.”

Teens Say Bullying Is Still a Major Issue

The online survey, commissioned by CustomInk and conducted by Kelton, connected with more than 1,500 teens between the ages of 13-17 living in the 10 largest metro areas in the country. In addition to the amount of teens who have been affected by bullying, the survey also found:
• Teens are teased about their looks: 64 percent have been bullied because of physical appearance, weight, and clothing, more than any other factor
• For some teens, bullying is a weekly concern: 26 percent worry about being bullied at least once a week, and 34 percent see at least four incidents of bullying among their peers per month
• More younger kids are nervous about being bullied as they return to school: 35 percent of 13- and 14-year-olds worry about bullying vs. 24 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds

Online bullying is a common concern among teens:
• 54 percent of teens say that bullying is most likely to happen online, vs. physically or verbally
• 45 percent say they would consider blocking people and 35 percent would defriend key people from their social media accounts to avoid bullying

Teens are more likely to take a stand against bullying by uniting with others:
• 62 percent most likely to do so with a group – friends, community, or local organization, versus alone
• 78 percent are willing to show they are against bullying by signing a petition, wearing a relevant item of clothing or by joining a club

School bullying prevention programs may help encourage teens to take action:
• 48 percent of teens with a program say someone took action to prevent a recent bullying incident versus just 40 percent without
• Of those with a program, 68 percent said they or someone else has stopped a bullying incident versus just 51 percent without
• Teens with a school program are far more likely to show they’re against bullying, for example: wearing a t-shirt (54 percent vs. 41 percent), joining a club (49 percent vs. 33 percent), or posting pictures on social media (44 percent vs. 28 percent)

For additional survey findings and methodology, please visit customink.com/stopbullying/press.

Celebrities Unite for Bullying Prevention

Several celebrities have joined forces to support the bullying prevention cause. This year’s celebrities include: Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens kicker), Dennis Pitta (Baltimore Ravens tight end), Lauren Potter (Glee), Alex Angelo (DJ and Radio Disney on-air personality), Peyton Meyer (Girl Meets World), Kira Kosarin (The Thundermans), Katie Leclerc (Switched at Birth), Charlie Villanueva (professional basketball player), Ryan McCartan (Liv and Maddie), Rachel McCord (celebrity blogger), Sherri Saum (The Fosters), AnnaSophia Robb (The Carrie Diaries), Paul Rabil (professional lacrosse player and member of U.S. Men’s National Team), Kyle Kleiboeker (Broadway performer and former contestant on Summer Camp), Christen Press (professional soccer player and striker for U.S. Women’s National Team), Blake Cooper (The Maze Runner), and Time for Three (musical trio).

Each celebrity has designed their own custom bullying prevention t-shirt to be sold throughout the campaign, with 100 percent of the profits benefiting PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Celebrities will also utilize the power of social media to engage and connect with their fans to spread a message of acceptance and kindness.

How to Get Involved

Now through October 31, visit www.customink.com/stopbullying. Students, community groups, and others can design and personalize bullying prevention shirts for their school, team or organization, and fans can buy their favorite celebrity-designed shirts as well. Everyone is invited to take part in PACER’s UNITY DAY on Wednesday, October 22, when the organization encourages people to send a message of support to those who have experienced bullying by wearing orange. Exclusive 2014 UNITY DAY shirts designed by PACER are also available for purchase.

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