Unless you’ve been totally cut off from the radio, morning talk shows, or late night TV you’ve heard about the YouTube sensation Rebecca Black. Rebecca is a charming, confident 13-year-old girl whose singing talent was discovered by the independent record label Ark Music Factory in Los Angeles. While most would consider that quite an accomplishment, it’s not the reason Rebecca has received so much airtime. It’s because of her song “Friday” and the response it has generated in cyberspace.
Ever since the music video hit YouTube, it has been the subject of parodies and media hellfire. Here is a sampling of the lyrics but be forewarned, once you actually hear the song it’s stuck in your head forever.“Friday”
“Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs, gotta have cereal” and “I see my friends! Kickin’ in the front seat, sittin’ in the back seat, gotta make my mind up, which seat can I taaaaake? It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday...Everybody’s looking forward to the weekend...Partying, partying, partying, yeah! ...Yesterday was Thursday, today is Friday...tomorrow is Saturday and Sunday comes afterwards....”
Ummm, yeah. But the tune is catchy.The worst song ever?
Positioned as possibly “the worst song ever” by Yahoo, no less, it’s a poor imitation of mainstream pop with middle school students dotting the landscape, pretending to drive cars, and getting really excited because it’s FRIDAY and it’s time for “partying.” While it may all be just a little bit silly and delivered in a saccharin sweet style, it’s certainly not the worst song ever to hit the airwaves – or in this case, the cyber waves.
It’s not clear why the video has fostered so much online vitriol. Most all the comments about the video are negative, and some are downright hateful. It’s been called “a whole new level of bad,” “a train wreck, ” and “disastrous.” One viewer suggested, “Rebecca Black should go cut herself and die.”Hateful comments or cyberbullying?
Black’s response? “Those hurtful comments really shocked me. At times, it feels like I’m being cyberbullied.”
Is she really? This is what the experts have to say about it. Karen Slovak, an Ohio University professor, states, “The term cyberbullying is thrown around and has many different definitions. Cyberbullying
is a term meant to imply something that happens repeatedly over time by the same person or group of people. Youth can be subjected to one-time incidents of disrespectful posts from multiple people that I like to call electronic cruelty.”
The consensus seems to be that a remark can be cruel but it doesn’t always warrant the term cyberbullying. However, if cyberbullying is defined as “the use of electronic medium to cause harm, “ then the comments thrown at Rebecca do amount to cyberbullying. The consequences of such bully behavior can lead to a variety of emotional consequences, such as depression
, social isolation and in as some documented cases, suicide.
Regardless of how cyberbullying is defined, experts agree it’s time to back off Rebecca Black. Rebecca seems to be doing just fine despite all the ugly, hurtful words. As they say, success is the best revenge.