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Jaime Castillo
Apr 13, 2011

Is the Star of YouTube's Latest Viral Video Being Cyber-Bullied?

The YouTube video “Friday” by Rebecca Black went viral this week and hit an incredible 14 million views in six days. If you haven’t seen it, ask your kids or coworkers, chances are one of them has. The song was written by Ark Music Factory, a the California based company that writes and produces pop songs and corresponding videos for inspiring youngsters, then promotes them via the web. Black, who is 13 years old, picked “Friday” out of a number of pre-written songs to sing, but is she now the Internets lasted viral star, or the latest victim of cyber-bullying?

The production of the video and song are excellent, but it’s the plot and lyrics that are under heavy criticism and ridicule online. Just a quick glance at the comments on YouTube you find:
“How did this garbage go viral, you should all be ashamed of yourselves.”
“This is soo ****, how did this get made?”

Black said in an interview yesterday to The Daily Beast, “Those hurtful comments really shocked me… at times I feel like I’m being cyber-bullied.” Which got me thinking…. is this really cyber-bullying?

If this video is the creation of Black, and if she consented to the release and upload of the video, are the comments made in reaction considered to be cyber-bullying? If I upload a video that I created, is it right for me to consider negative comments as cyber-bullying? I would consider any threatening or verbally aggressive text messages, emails, Facebook posts, tweets, or websites that were sent directly to or about me as cyber-bullying. However, comments to a video I posted, I don’t think I could.

As cyber-bullying has been a trending topic in the counseling field in the last few months, I pose this question: Is the criticism received from a video that is intentionally made by an individual for the Internet considered to be cyber-bullying?

Jaime Castillo is a counselor who works for a non-profit agency in New York City.

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