Shawn Mendes is a massively successful pop star, currently ensconced in the U.S. top 10 chart beside his countrymen Bieber, Drake and The Weeknd. His breakthrough song "Stitches" is number one on pop radio, and he spent his summer on tour with Taylor Swift
But Mendes is also 17, and so when he talks about cyberbullying, it's not abstract because, yes, even famous people have feelings.
"I've seen it firsthand, I felt it. I've obviously felt the wrath of people over a computer because you don't care. Over the computer you're invincible. You can say whatever you want," Mendes tells HuffPost Canada backstage at We Day Toronto where he recently performed to tens of thousands of youth activists.
"If someone was to say negative comment to me in person, I would for some reason brush it off. But for some stupid reason when you read something online, it bugs you. You could have 1,000 nice comments and you see one bad one and about you.
"I can only imagine what it's like for people who have maybe five nice things and get three bad ones. That's hurtful."
This is something that Mendes was trying to address with his #NotesFromShawn project, a collaboration with DoSomething.org. The goal was to use his online fanbase to help make the world more positive and reduce self-harm among teens with anonymous self-esteem boosts.
"The things [social media] can do for people and for causes are incredible [but] it can also really really hurt someone," he says. "It's super simple, I asked my fans to write on sticky notes something like 'you're awesome' or 'you rock' or 'you're beautiful.'
"Write five of them and then going to your school, or go to the mall, or go anywhere and just stick them in places. It's one of those things to just brighten up someone's day. We had 37,000 people signed up for it in the first couple weeks, it was amazing to think about."
Another 26,000 kids signed up this past summer when the campaign was re-launched, though if you search Twitter you'll see that Mendes' fans never stopped spreading their sticky note love.
Bullying Awareness Week runs from Nov. 15 until Nov 21.
OMG. We are so excited to team up with our crush, @shawnmendes, AGAIN! We’re bringing back #NotesFromShawn to spread even more positivity. We’re asking YOU to leave anonymous notes in public places to boost self-esteem and brighten people’s days. Text MENDES to 38383 and you’ll get exclusive content from him! Not in the U.S. or Canada? Head to the link in our bio to participate! ❤️
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