For the first time, Samsung took part for in Tel Aviv Fashion Week, in order to promote its social and environmental agendas: "The goal is to make the world a better place." Or Yaakov, Shir Popovich, Alice Zano and Israel's leading designers were also there.
Social networks, have turned out lives upside down, have many advantages, but also quite a few disadvantages. It is no secret that many teenagers in Israel are exposed to online bullying online and on social networks, and no one is immune. In the current reality, anyone can be a victim of violence and cyberbullying, including some of Israel's leading influencers, such as Or Yaakov, Shiri Popovich and Alice Zanno, who have hundreds of thousands of followers on social networks.
These three influencers who have often suffered from abusive harassment and cyberbullying chose to cope in a slightly different way, and apart from raising awareness of the issue on various platforms, they took part in the FAC Tel Aviv 2023 Kornit Fashion Week held in cooperation with Samsung, the technology giant that works around the clock to promote the social and environmental agendas it advocates. Jacob, Popovich and Zano walked the catwalk during the fashion show along with other influencers to promote this important issue. In between, we caught up with them for a brief conversation about cyberbullying, and asked them for tips on how to deal with the issue.
Have you ever experienced cyberbullying?Or Yaakov: "I have experienced cyberbullying several times in my life. One of the times I remember the most was when I started out as a YouTuber. I chose to post a sentence in my story that really helped me and still helps in situations like this: Even if you are the most delicious, ripest peach on the tree, there are people who simply do not like peaches. This means that not everyone will always like my content or even me and that's really okay. Not everyone likes peaches. In addition, I would reply to those bullies with humor and maturity and bring tips to my audience. By the way, at the beginning there were a lot of bad reactions; They laughed at me, said I was pathetic and criticized everything I posted, but I remember saying to myself, 'So what, they're laughing at me now but in a few years they'll be jealous,' and I can guarantee that's the case right now. Some criticized me privately and then texted me a year later asking if I could send them a birthday greeting. The most important thing is to do what we love in life, learn and improve with a positive and curious attitude, believe in ourselves and act accordingly."
Shir Popovich: "The truth is that I recently experienced cyberbullying. I played the role of Daria Carmi, a Military Police investigator who investigates a rape case. As a result of playing this role, I received a lot of comments from people who told me how much they hated me because they thought that the fact that I played the bad guy showed that this is how I am in life. I was even bullied and there was even a guy who did a TikTok where he criticizes me and says how ugly, creepy and evil I am. I was very offended, and then I did something. I decided that I always reply, and I answered him in the video about how what he does is shaming and getting becoming famous by criticizing others. In the end, he turned to me and apologized, but these are things that are hard to forgive."
Alice Zano: "As a child, I experienced bullying when I immigrated to Israel. In the last few years since I became active in the entertainment industry and online, I have gained quite a few followers, and with that sometimes come offensive comments. Even though I was prepared for it and knew it was part of the package, it doesn't contradict the point that I'm a human being and I'm not always immune to those reactions. How do I deal with it? I share with Ash and my close friends, meditate and move on."
What tip would you give to a child who is being cyberbullied? Or Yaakov: "First ask for help from a trusted adult. The internet sometimes blows things out of proportion and this can cause a storm of emotions. Secondly, there is the 105 hotline that works to help in exactly such situations, so I always recommend contacting them. In addition, I would remind that girl that she is amazing and loved and has her future ahead of her. This situation is temporary and will soon pass. Sometimes people can be bad, but remember who you are and that you are wonderful and no word they write will change that. In addition, I would ask her to write down ten qualities that she likes about herself, ten things that she is grateful for and ask her what her dream is and then what she wants to do now to start promoting it. I would also mention that fulfilling one’s dreams is a long process and one needs to be especially strong when there are bad reactions, because it is fleeting and it says nothing about the future. I personally also delete certain comments."Shir Popovich: "My tip is to understand that when say negative things about us, you actually identify something that may be perceived as a weakness, but is our strength. Like the guy who criticized me – I just suddenly realized that the words and this hatred indicated that I was probably a really good actress if they believed that this was how I was in life. First breathe, smile and truly love myself, and then everything can be handled.”
Alice Zanno: "I would tell her that if there is a conversation about her, then she must be special, and that it is important to involve relatives and parents and understand that the problem is not with you but with the other side that hurts.
How do you use social media to promote fair discourse?Or Yaakov: "In many ways. First of all, I share tips and insights in my story and the posts I create. I raise awareness of many issues, including ostracism (which I experienced as a child), bullying, self-love, self-confidence and developing good relationships. Sometimes if I encounter a case of cyberbullying, I help the victim, publicize it, and make a video that raises awareness. I help him to get a positive reaction and change the situation."
Shir Popovich: "I reply to every message on Instagram and comment on TikTok because people are more important to me than anything."
What content is important for you to promote on social networks and why?Or Yaakov: "It's important to me to promote content that helps people cope mentally with all kinds of moments in life, and of course, humorous content. I truly believe that laughter is the key to happiness, as is lightness and a healthy attitude. Humor saved me and continues to serve as my anchor today."Shir Popovich: "It's important to me that we all really talk and see each other equally and with a lot of love, respect and humor."
What do you think social media will look like a decade from now?Or Yaakov: "I have no idea, but I'm sure it will be crazy. I believe that life in general in a decade from now, will be very different. Technology will change completely and what we know today will be like the giant TV with the antenna of yesteryear."Shir Popovich: "I hope that we learn to love each other on social media and express criticism out of love with the understanding that we are not all the same and we won't try to change anyone. We'll look at ourselves and try to be the best version of ourselves, of ourselves and of our friends."
“Cleaning up the internet": expert panel with Avi Aburumi, Guy Lehrer and Ofek RishonAt the Galaxy for the Planet fashion show held under at Fashion Week, Samsung teamed up with a series of senior designers, who created a variety of outfits especially for it that were displayed on the runway. The exhibition was attended by top designers, including Alon Livneh, Maskit Fashion House, Shahar Avnet and David Wexler, with the raw materials for the designs composed of waste that had been thrown into the sea.In addition to the show itself, during Fashion Week there was an expert panel called "Clean Up the Internet" that dealt with bullying on social media and ways to deal with it. The panel was moderated by Rotem Israel and included singer Avi Aburumi, journalist and "The Pipeline" presenter Guy Lehrer, alongside Ofek Rishon, who initiated and commands the boycott patrol.
The fascinating panel was held due to the spike in cases of cyberbullying in Israel in recent years. According to data from Hotline 105 – the National Bureau for the Protection of Children Online of the National Security Institute, in 2022, more than 25% of calls to the hotline were about bullying, harassment and shaming, with 15% of the calls being made against the background of suicide and fear for human life. According to Report 105 for 2022, the main arenas where children and youth were harmed are Instagram and WhatsApp. In addition, the report found that the majority of the victims were young people aged 12-14 (with two-thirds being victims and another third being victims), while the perpetrators were aged 13-15, with 76% of the perpetrators being boys
“We can promote a culture of inclusion and a desire to make the world a better place."Maya Segal, spokeswoman for Samsung Israel: "As part of our social responsibility, we are proud to have had the privilege of leading the "Cleaning the Net" panel during Fashion Week, which raised the issue of cyberbullying and the understanding that technology can also have a positive social impact, and that we can promote a culture of inclusion and a desire to make the world a better place."
This article was written in cooperation with Samsung