The Internet, you might think, has been pretty good to Australian Teen Idol Cody Simpson. After all, it took him from Aussie obscurity to the heights of fame, with a Kardashian girlfriend and the #1 spot on our 18 Under 18 list to go along with it. But even after all this, Cody’s still dealing with the same digital problems as any other 16-year-old. Namely, cyber-bullies, who don’t seem to care whether the kid they’re harassing is their algebra classmate or a three-time Australian Kids Choice Award-winner.
As Cody told AOL Music:
“It kind of happens every day and in the beginning it was something that… right now I have kind of grown almost numb to it. I make sure not to look it up now but in the beginning I was literally, like, looking up hate messages,” he says. “People say these things. They don’t even know you. It does hurt a little bit. They didn’t even have a chance to know you as a person and all they see is what is online. When someone sees a person doing that it kind of snowballs and people start to think it’s okay.”
But whether being cyberbullied by strangers or classmates, Simpson says it’s incredibly important to not be bullied into silence.
“You really kind of have to relay that it isn’t cool,” he says. “A lot of people do it to try and defend their own insecurities and try and take it out on other people. You really got to let them know that they should talk to parents and friends and teachers and family about their own issues rather than taking it out on other people with their own things to worry about.”
To fight the digital menace, Simpson has recorded a PSA for Defeat the Label, an anti-bullying advocacy organization:
Clearly, there is something wrong with our teenagers today. You see a handsome, blonde, athletic, talented Australian and you choose to mock him? We never believed our parents when they said people mocked us because they were jealous, but that’s pretty clearly what’s going on here. Kids, lay off Cody Simpson! Or else he’ll get his pal Magic Johnson to beat you up.