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A new campaign modeled after Jimmy Kimmel's 'Mean Tweets' series is showing kids (and adults) that cyberbullying and sharing hurtful messages online is not funny.
A video from the Canadian Safe School Network, a Toronto-based nonprofit organization, mimics Kimmel's popular segment showing kids reading mean tweets aloud instead of celebrities. In the 'Kids Read Mean Tweets' video cyberbullies take shots at the children's race, weight, sexuality, appearance and more. A laugh track is cued up after each message is read, however, as the video continues, the laughter fades.
"We wanted to use the 'Mean Tweets' model because in a way, those videos give the message that cyberbullying is OK -- even funny,” president of the Canadian Safe School Network, Stu Auty, said in a recent blog post. "But adult celebrities have the maturity and confidence to overcome these hurtful words. Children don't. For regular kids, words can cut like a knife."
According to the CSSN, while only 8 per cent of Canadian teens admit to being bullied online, 18 per cent of parents say they have a child who has experienced cyberbullying. 14 per cent of Canadian teens say they have seen mean or inappropriate comments about themselves on social networks.
"From these stats, it’s clear children are reluctant to admit to being bullied," Auty said. "It’s time to take away the stigma, get people talking, and eliminate this problem once and for all."
The 'Kids Read Mean Tweets' video -- which was made with the help of Toronto advertising agency john st. -- is part of a Indiegogo campaign attempting to raise $10,000 to help spread the CSSN's message about cyberbullying. The crowdfunding campaign ends April 10.