Amanda Todd’s Suicide: Cyberbullying and a Cry for Help – Keeping kids safe Online

Amanda Todd, 15 posted a heartbreaking and emotional video called “My story: struggling, bullying, suicide, self harm and ultimately committed suicide.  The video detailed  years of bullying , cutting and humiliation which lasted up until the day she died.

“Hello, I’ve decided to tell you about my never ending story,” the black and white video begins. She silently tells her story through a series of white cards with black marker writing on them.

Amanda describes using webcam chats to meet and talk to new people online as a seventh grade student. She said that people told her she was “stunning, beautiful, perfect” and a man pressured her to flash her chest.  Todd received a Facebook message from a man she did not know saying that if she did not “put on a show” for him, he would send the photo of her chest to everyone. Over Christmas break, police went to Todd’s house to tell her that the photo had been sent to everyone.

“I then got really sick and got anxiety, major depression and panic disorders,” she wrote. “I then moved and got into drugs and alcohol.”  A year after moving, Todd said things were going better until the man on Facebook came back and used the photo of her chest as his profile picture. Todd said she “cried every night, lost all my friends and respect people had for me again.”

She described being called names, eating lunch alone and resorting to cutting herself. She also told the story of an incident where she made a “huge mistake” and “hooked up” with a boy at her school who had a girlfriend, but who she believed really liked her.

A week later, she said she received a text message telling her to get out of school and then a group of students, led by the boy’s girlfriend, surrounded her at school and said, “Look around, nobody likes you.”  Todd said she “wanted to die so bad” when her dad found her in a ditch. She drank bleach when she went home and had to be rushed to the hospital to have her stomach pumped, she said.

“After I got home, all I saw was on Facebook–’She deserved it. Did you wash the mud out of your hair? I hope she’s dead,’” she wrote.

Todd moved to another school in another city, but said the torture followed her through Facebook. Students posted photos of ditches and suggested she try another bleach.

“Every day, I think, why am I still here?” she asked towards the end of the video. “I’m stuck. What’s left of me now? Nothing stops. I have nobody. I need someone. My name is Amanda Todd.

My teenage daughter and I have talked about this story and it has left us both emotionally drained, but I am now much more passionate and relentless about bringing these types of stories to the forefront.  As parents we can purchase internet monitoring software, but nothing will ever take the place of a conversation about online safety, cyber bullying, self-esteem, and life in general.

We must speak with our children about the importance of their choices, the consequences of posting inappropriate comments and photos online.  Amanda’s words are chilling and she says it best:  “I can never get that photo back,” she wrote. “It’s out there forever.”

One choice can change your life forever….

http://youtu.be/1BgYGfSzIi0

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