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Rebecca Black video inspires cyberbullies

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“Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday...” One can occasionally hear the lyrics to Rebecca Black’s “Friday” echoing around campus, particularly on Friday, and usually accompanied by some sort of joke about the song or groans about how bad it is. Some, however, have gone beyond mere mockery of the song and have started attacking Black herself.
During an interview with ABC News, Black related some of the meanest comments she’s received online from people: “ ‘I hope you cut yourself,’ ‘I hope you get an eating disorder so you’ll look pretty,’ and ‘I hope you go cut and die.’ ” “When I first saw all these nasty comments,” she continued, “I did cry. I felt like this was my fault, and I shouldn’t have done this, and this was all because of me.”

Granted, she did have a hand in this; even though the song was produced and written by Ark Music Factory, she did sign up to perform the song. However, her professional mishaps do not require such harsh and personal attacks. Considering all the attention that has been given to cyberbullying in recent months, one would hope that people would stop and think before tweeting or writing YouTube comments to a 13-year-old girl about how she should kill herself.
Instances like Black’s “Friday” video and even UCLA’s Alexandra Wallace’s racially insensitive video are becoming more frequent and have been receiving more attention than ever before. The more extreme instances, like Tyler Clementi’s suicide at Rutgers University, have received national attention and for a short time brought the psychological and emotional devastation of cyberbullying to the forefront of the American public. According to isafe.org, 42 percent of kids say they have been bullied online.

What is it about the anonymity of the Internet that makes people feel free to say anything they want, regardless of how cruel their comments are? And what can we do to prevent online bullying? The National Crime Prevention Council provides suggestions on its website for parents to prevent their children from being bullied online, but none to ensure that their children are not the ones doing the bullying. Parents need to start explaining to their children that nothing on the Internet is anonymous — despite what they might think, people from school can, in fact, read their Tumblr or figure out whose YouTube profile left them a nasty comment.

Nasty tweets to an Internet sensation may seem harmless, but a 13-year-old girl might be crying because of what you said. Think about that before you comment, “This sux, I hope u die” on someone’s YouTube video.