Among all the downsides of the internet, cyber-bullying resides right up there at the top. These days, it's just too easy for the mean-spirited to hide behind the safety of their computer screens, throwing nasty shade at whomever they feel deserves it and too often, there's almost no consequences to their behaviour, apart from the damage done to the person being bullied. If, however, we took the internet and all of its sharing tools and flipped things on its head, we could use this powerful platform to combat bullying, everywhere from playschool right up to the workplace.
By now you'll have seen at least a few of those Jimmy Kimmel 'Celebrities Read Mean Tweets' viral videos.?We laugh at the insults hurled at these seemingly untouchable folk, not stopping for a second to think of how it might make them feel. What's more, it makes them appear as more likable to us as they demonstrate their ability to laugh at themselves. These people aren't going to go home mulling over whatever mean (but mostly funny) things that come their way.
But what if you replaced these adult superstars with young kids? Would we find it funny? Not a chance. The video below, from the Canadian Safe School Network, a non-profit that aims to reduce youth violence and make schools safer, seeks to shed light on the effects of cyber-bullying. It shows students reading messages that single them out for their weight, general appearance, race and lots more. It's an incredibly effective campaign. By the end of the clip, you'll be speechless.
Add to this the recent video of the kid whose response to one bully's comment that went viral, and we just might be getting somewhere positive.
In the clip, four-year-old Siahj Chase from the Bahamas recalls the time "A little boy said I look...ugly". At just four years of age, the world raised one massive high-five for her response: "I didn't come here to make a fashion statement. I came here to learn." "And the little boy said I look bad," she continues. "And I said, 'Did you look in the mirror lately??Bye bye, see you later, you're making me mad.'"
For every one of us who has ever been on the receiving end of a bully, for those who might be bullied today, take solace in the fact that things are changing. As for the bullies? .....
(Oh, that was us not wasting any oxygen on them)