Social Media and Cyber-bullying

ABC News: – “…Todd posted the video called “My story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self harm” on Sept. 7 and was found dead in her home town of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia on Oct. 10. Since her death, the video has been viewed more than 3 million times. In the video, Todd described using webcam chats to meet and talk to new people online as a seventh grade student, including a man who pressured her to flash her chest. One year later, she did and the man took a photo of her chest. Todd said that the man put the photo online and sent it to everyone she knew. Even after moving towns and schools multiple times, the man continued to follow her online and use her photo, she said. The photo and the bullying online and in school drove her to depression, drugs, alcohol, cutting and a suicide attempt with bleach. “I can never get that photo back,” she wrote. “It’s out there forever…” – Christina Ng, ABC News, 16 Oct 2012 (READ MORE)

CBC News: – “…Four days after Todd’s death, the provincial government issued a memo to teachers advising them not to show the video in class unless they were confident about responding to questions in a meaningful way. Education Minister Don McRae said the memo is not a directive, teachers and administrators have the autonomy to make their own decisions about it. He suggested there are other ways for teachers and students to talk about bullying that don’t involve showing the video. “We have some international experts who we are looking to as a resource to make sure we know how best to deal with this anti-bullying issue and the Amanda Todd video, and they recommend that it not to be shown in class,” McRae said. The education minister said he hasn’t read the experts’ reports himself but will be speaking with them about the issue later Monday…” – CBC News, 22 Oct 2012 (READ MORE)

The Globe and Mail – “…The persistent bullying that Amanda Todd, 15, suffered before she died by apparent suicide on Wednesday has raised alarms about how bullying can push teens into despair. Shannon Freud, a counsellor at the Kids Help Phone, which receives about 5,000 calls and e-mails a week from youth across the country, says girls who reach out to her service often say that bullying has contributed to depression, self-esteem issues, self-harming, eating disorders and feelings of suicide…Ms. Freud explains that teen girls tend to be bullied in a different way. While the bullying of males typically involves physical aggression, girls tend to be the target of social and verbal harassment, including exclusion or having others talk – or in many cases now, text – about them behind their backs. Telling cyber-bullying victims to simply shut off their computer or stop checking their Facebook accounts is far easier said than done, since social media is such an integral part of how teens now interact and communicate, Ms. Freud says. Some may even be reluctant to delete tormentors from their lists of online friends because keeping those online contacts boosts their sense of status. “And status is such a huge thing for kids and youth,” she said. “Kids only let you see what they want you to see,” Ms. Murchison said. Sometimes, after Jenna received a mean text message, she’d pick fights with her mother. But Ms. Murchison never knew the full extent of her daughter’s online abuse. “You can’t get away from cyber-bullies unless you take everything away from [your kids] and you can’t do that,” she said…” – The Globe and Mail, 12 Oct 2012 (READ MORE)

Amanda Michelle Todd (November 1996 – October 10, 2012) was a 15-year-old Canadian teenager whose suicide was attributed to cyber-bullying through the social networking website Facebook. On September 7, 2012, Todd posted a video on YouTube in which she used a series of flash cards to tell of her experience of being blackmailed, bullied, and physically assaulted. In it she mentions sending an image of her breasts to a man who later circulated it around the internet. Shortly before 6:00 pm on October 10, 2012, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were called to her home in Port Coquitlam, to investigate what they refer to as a “sudden death”. They have since launched a full investigation into Todd’s death. Police are conducting interviews, reviewing content at social media sites, and are actively monitoring pages. Christy Clark, the Premier of British Columbia, made an online statement of condolence suggesting a national discussion be made discussing criminalizing cyber-bullying. Todd was a 10th-grade student at CABE Secondary in Coquitlam – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

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