Before Lady Gaga was worshipped by her throng of "little monsters," she was Stefani Germanotta. And as a schoolgirl, the would-be pop star was, as her mother Cynthia Germanotta said at Recode's Code Conference, "undeniably unique."
But while being unique is Lady Gaga's claim to fame, it was young Stefani's cross to bear.
"At times she was taunted, humiliated and isolated," Germanotta said of her daughter's school experience. "It was devastating for her to experience, and heartbreaking for me to watch."
By the time Stefani started college, much of that bullying happened online. There were few ways to prevent online harassment, and even fewer ways to make it stop. That's why Cynthia and Stefani (Lady Gaga) eventually started the Born This Way Foundation, and why today they urged tech executives to sign a pledge to "hack harassment."
The pledge reads:
In order to build a safer, smarter, and more inclusive experience online, I will recognize when harassment is occurring, responsibly speak up against it, and support those experiencing it by:
Abiding by and upholding the same standards and values online that are expected offline, and accepting that my online behavior has real-life consequences
Valuing and supporting diverse perspectives, backgrounds and opinions
Actively participating in the movement to decrease the prevalence and intensity of online harassment
In addition to the pledge, Germanotta said the Born This Way Foundation — which is supported by Intel and Recode's parent company, Vox Media — is seeking innovators to create digital tools and resources for the victims of harassment.
"Bringing together tech leaders, advocates, researchers and young people themselves, we can work together to decrease the frequency and severity of online harassment," she said. "We’re doing this by: Elevating the conversation — raising awareness of the problem, its impact and the opportunities we have to create real change, [and] fostering collaboration across sectors so that the people invested in solving this problem can work together, sharing their expertise and best practices."
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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.