The “Celebrity read mean tweets” segment on the Jimmy Kimmel show became the fans favourite. Celebrities have a thick skin and they laugh about what people say, and we laugh with them. No one actually took the time to realize that what’s said is actually pretty mean.
Many parody and copy videos have been done, but one of the videos done really stood out. The Canadian Safe School Network, a national non-profit charitable organization against youth violence and school safety, made teenagers read the same tweets that celebrities read.
The laughing voice-over was added in the beginning of the video, which made us laugh with them. Then the laughs started fading, and we realized how serious everything really sounded.
After the video was released, many blamed Jimmy Kimmel and his team for “glamorizing cyber bullying”. The videos he made with the celebrities showed that cyber bullying is “funny” and everything said online should be taken lightly. Not once has he mentioned how serious cyber bullying is.
In the US, 58% of kids and teenagers have been victims of cyber bullying, and statistics show that the victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider committing suicide. Authorities in the US have been aware of the problem, but in Egypt, no one acknowledges it. Not a single day has passed for me without noticing someone sharing someone else’s picture and making fun of them. People even share other’s wedding pictures and make fun of them.
I’m sure not much will change after this video in Egypt, but I’m still a little bit optimistic. I hope one day we notice how hurtful it is. Put yourself in other people’s shoes. Think of what you say before you write it. Sadly, the internet makes it easier for people to make fun of others, because they’re hiding behind a screen and usually anonymous. If we personally start taking cyber bullying more seriously, our society could change. Start with yourself.