When Barack Obama reads mean tweets about himself, it’s funny, political, and a demonstration of his sense of humor and humility. When school-aged kids read mean tweets about themselves, it’s sad, painful, and a campaign against bullying.
Canadian Safe Schools is using an Indiegogo fund to support their newest battle against bullying. It’s a short video that imitates the format of a Jimmy Kimmel segment, but it’s far more serious.
It’s just over a minute of kids reading insults about themselves. A creative insult is treated as something of an art and a form of comedy. Since the first “yo mama” joke appeared, probably in a cave painting somewhere, humans have found humor in insults.
However, middle school isn’t a Comedy Central roast, and kids who are still developing their sense of self suffer real harm from bullying. “Kids Read Mean Tweets,” which you can watch below, shows how much these words can hurt.
The mean tweets start out disguised as jokes — comparing a girl’s sexual choices to a video game, riffing off racial stereotypes — but wait. These mean tweets are already not funny.
The first two mean tweets attack a kid for sexual choices or sexual preference — something that’s already an uncomfortable subject during the years surrounding puberty. Then, they go full racist — still disguised as a joke, though.
Still, there’s room yet for the tweets to deteriorate — and they do.
“You’re a huge loser.”
That isn’t a funny joke by anyone’s standards.
“No one likes you. Do everyone a favour. Just kill yourself.”
And there it is. The underlying message that, spoken or not, intended or not, so many kids hear from their bullies.
Only last month, a student committed suicide when encouraged to do so by a schoolmate. She’s been charged with manslaughter in the case.
Is this last mean tweet any different? In fact, are any of them, even the ones that get the laughs, really any different?
Canada Safe Schools is asking people to take bullying seriously, even when it looks like jokes. The Indiegogo Campaign wants their video to reach 10 million people, and if you’re interested in helping, their fundraising page is here.
When celebrities read mean tweets, it’s a funny video on late-night TV. When kids read mean tweets, it’s often alone in their bedrooms, in the halls at school, or on the bus — and it’s not a joke to them.