Tacky Box, a for-purpose company dedicated to creating systemic change in the way children treat one another, has partnered with the Dallas Entrepreneur Center (DEC) and David’s Legacy Foundation to present “Hack the Bully”, an anti-cyberbullying hackathon on Feb. 23-24 at the DEC. Sponsored by Atmos Energy, the ultimate goal of the hackathon is to develop an online tool that weakens cyberbullies and empowers victims and bystanders.
The idea for the hackathon spurred from the many educators who successfully implemented the Tacky Box program in their classrooms but saw a gap in the extreme need for a digital equivalent to address online bullying. According to dosomething.org, nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online, and one in four has been a victim of it more than once.
“Technology has allowed our society to advance in many positive ways, but when it comes to bullying, it has been tremendously negative for children and teens,” said Chris Kent Phelps, Founder and CEO of Tacky Box. “We have a responsibility as adults to help our kids deal with what they face online. Our goal with ‘Hack the Bully’ is to develop a tangible online solution that puts an end to cyberbullying and the depression, anxiety and suicide it so frequently causes among kids as young as nine years old.”
Matt and Maurine Molak, founders of David’s Legacy Foundation and creators of the recently-passed anti-cyberbullying legislation titled David’s Law, unfortunately experienced the devastation cyberbullying can cause when they lost their 16-year-old son, David Molak, to suicide in 2016.
“While David’s Law is a powerful tool, this is an issue that requires constant attention and education due to its pervasiveness particularly in the digital world in which we live,” said Maurine.
The words of their oldest son Cliff in a Facebook post following the tragic loss of his brother encompass the very reason a solution to online bullying is imperative:
“In today's age, bullies don't push you into lockers, they don't tell their victims to meet them behind the school's dumpster after class, they cower behind user names and fake profiles from miles away constantly berating and abusing good, innocent people,” he wrote. “What happened to my beloved brother was a tragedy. A tragedy set into motion by a boy whom I will not further empower by naming.”
The Molaks will share their story in honor of David to kick off “Hack the Bully” on Friday, Feb. 23. In addition, the hackathon will periodically feature specialists to discuss relevant topics such as freedom of speech, bystander intervention and more. After approx. 24 hours, each team of hackers will present their ideas to a panel of judges, including the Molaks, culminating with an awards ceremony the night of Saturday, Feb. 24. The winning team will receive cash prizes in addition to the opportunity to work with Atmos Energy and Tacky Box on the development of their prototype.
If you are interested in participating as a hacker, register at http://bit.ly/2nOLq1a. For more information, please contact Chris Kent Phelps at Chris@tackybox.com. To learn more about Tacky Box, please visit www.tackybox.com.
About Tacky Box
Tacky Box® is a for-purpose company dedicated to creating systemic change in the way children treat one another. The company offers elementary schools an award-winning multi-sensory experience for students paired with an innovative, hands on tool that teaches children to choose kindness over tacky language and behavior. In just 3 years, Tacky Box has transformed the school climate for over 50,000 students in North Texas alone, reducing incidents of bullying and disrupting the process through which children adopt inappropriate behavior often modeled for them.
About David’s Legacy Foundation
Founded by the Molak Family in 2016 following the tragic death of their beloved son and brother, David Molak, David’s Legacy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to ending cyber-assisted bullying by educating communities about the harmful effects of cyber abuse, providing support for bullying victims, promoting kindness, and supporting legislation that prohibits the cyberbullying of minors.
About The Dallas Entrepreneur Center
Founded in 2013, The Dallas Entrepreneur Center (The DEC) is a coworking space and 501c3 non-profit organization created to help entrepreneurs start, build, and grow companies, and to ensure that Dallas is recognized as a leading city for entrepreneurship throughout the country. The DEC has built a business support structure focused on stimulating job growth and driving the Dallas economy. Born from a shared vision among small business and entrepreneurship advocates, The DEC believes investment in entrepreneurs is an investment in the community.