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Digital Mirror Brings Attention to Online Bullying

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A campaign by the Children and Youth Foundation is bringing attention to online bullying in an unorthodox way.

It’s common enough for people to look back at their respective childhoods as “the good ole days.” But a fair amount of those doing the reminiscing never had access to the internet, and never had to cope with the faceless bullying that seems to go on there on a daily basis. While in-school bullying is seemingly on the downshift, online bullying, with the help of social media and online games, remains a consistent issue, from concentrated personal attacks, to hacking people’s accounts in search of compromising materials.

In response to this, the Children and Youth Foundation has created a campaign that brings internet bullying into a very public space.

Designed by disruption company TBWA\Helsinki and executed in collaboration with Clear Channel, the anti-bullying campaign is centered around a mirror placed in the Kamppi shopping center in Helsinki. The digital mirror invites passers-by to experience youth again, but not the positive memories of youth that many might remember.

When one steps in front of the mirror, insults began to appear on top of their reflection. All the insults were authentic comments, chosen from real online conversations.

“Bullying and discrimination are no longer limited by place or time,” says Olli Alanen, executive director of the Children and Youth Foundation. “Today, they can intrude every moment of the day, never leaving the harassed alone. With our campaign, we wanted to bring attention to this phenomenon that gets ignored all too often and is an unfortunate part of many young people’s lives every day.”

A common pattern to internet bullying involves pushing harassment to go viral, where it spreads to hundreds, if not thousands of anonymous online users, making it nearly impossible to remove entirely. Studies show that this level of anonymity causes many to be crueler than they would if their actions were being taken against someone who knew them, or if they were made in person.

“Bullying can be intervened, and the underlying problems solved,” says Alanen. “We’ve managed to reduce bullying by systematic, nationwide work. Next, we need to focus on decreasing online bullying and discrimination. Long-term cooperation between different actors will definitely result in finding effective solutions.”

Phil Keeling

Online Editor for Hers Magazine. Writer. Comedian. Wine geek. Theatre nerd.

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