VANCOUVER – It may be a popular Jimmy Kimmel segment, but the Canadian Safe Schools Network and Toronto advertising agency john st. have teamed up to show kids that cyberbullying and sharing hurtful messages online is not funny.
The video starts as all the ‘Mean Tweets’ segments start, with someone reading a tweet sent to them, and a laugh track being played after each message. However, as the video goes on, the laughter fades away.
The team is now using the video to raise the money for media buys, hoping to buy enough ad space during the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs.
“We wanted to use the ‘Mean Tweets’ model because in a way, those videos give the message that cyberbullying is ok – even funny,” said Stu Auty, president of the Canadian Safe School Network. “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. Cyberbullying is an epidemic that invades their lives and leaves many feeling like there’s no way out.”
Auty told Global News the response to the campaign so far has been amazing. “We’re getting an awful lot of hits and we’re getting lots of tweets, which is the point,” he said.
“When I witnessed what was going on with Jimmy Kimmel, I didn’t think that was funny at all. Kids will sign up thinking it’s funny and it’s certainly not.”
While only eight per cent of Canadian teens admit to being bullied online, 18 per cent of parents say they have a child who has experienced cyberbullying.
Fourteen 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,” said Auty. “It’s time to take away the stigma, get people talking, and eliminate this problem once and for all.”
To help fund the project to air the message on TV, go to the Indiegogo campaign page.