Students at Greenall High School recognize that bullying and cyberbullying are an issue, but after gathering for a SaskTel I Am Stronger Rally, they are hoping to use social media to bring about positive change.

Hundreds of students gathered for the rally at the school Wednesday morning. Guest speaker Katia Hildebrandt – a social media expert from the University of Regina – encouraged students to recognize the power of social media, to think critically about what they post online and to use it for good.

She also asked students to be “upstanders” against bullying and cyberbullying instead of bystanders.

The students are on board with the positive message.

“People we know, it happens to so many people,” said Grade 12 student Taylor Ziegler.

“We need to put an end to it. We need to stand up to those bullies. We can’t be afraid. We’re stronger than who we think we are, so we need to show that.”

Greenall High School principal Jason Weitzel hopes this will show students some positive ways to use social media.

“Sometimes the anonymity of social media, it gives us permission almost to do some of the things that maybe is the darker side of human nature, and just a reminder that we are good people, we’re good citizens in our school and our communities and in society,” he said.

Grade 12 student Jaelyn Silzer already sees how social media can be used to build her peers up.

“We can reach out to people online if that’s (the) ways that can help them and, just like in person, if like somebody’s having a bad day, just go up to them and let them know that all of us  here at Greenall are willing to support them and help them out,” she said.

The students are already thinking of other ways to use social media for good, including starting a Twitter account used to send encouraging messages to other students in their school.