12 year-old Katie Webb from Evesham, Worcestershire, took her own life after enduring insults from cyberbullies about her hair and clothing via social media sites. Katie was found at her home and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
According to Katie’s friends, she was often teased about her hairstyle and for wearing the wrong clothing labels. Katie’s friends paid tribute to her on Twitter and Facebook: Evangeline McCartney tweeted: ‘One thing I hate the most is cyber bullying, it doesn’t make you big or cool! RIP Katie Webb.’
Katie’s former headteacher David Braham at Bengeworth First School stated, “‘Katie was a vibrant and happy pupil who attended our school for six years. ‘We remember her for her bouncy and loveable nature. She will be greatly missed by all those who knew her and will always hold a special place in our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time.’
As parents we can no longer focus solely on monitoring our kids online behavior, we must take it offline as well. It’s time for “real time conversations” with our daughters about self-esteem, confidence, and not “believing” the negative talk from others. Parents can purchase all the internet monitoring software in the world, but nothing will ever take place of a conversation about cyberbullying, self-esteem, and life in general.
Marlin Page is a Globetrotting Speaker, empowering women and girls in STEM and Life. As Chief Technology Mommy sharing and exposing online safety stories, tips, and technology information to keep parents informed and children safe on the Internet. Marlin also serves as a speaker for Microsoft’s Global DigiGirlz Program and Camps.
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