Teen Commits Suicide After Chronic Bullying
A 15-year-old girl took her own life after a heartbreaking experience with cyber-bullying.
Amanda Todd of Vancouver took to YouTube a month ago with 'My story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self harm.' It's a nearly 9-minute video of Amanda showing cue cards, telling the story of her bullying.
Amanda went on a webcam as a seventh grader, and a man talked her into flashing the camera.
She was later blackmailed by a man who knew her friends, family, and address. He said he would put the naked photo of Amanda on the Internet if she didn't put on a show for him.
Soon the photo was all over her school. Amanda developed depression and anxiety and turned to drugs and alcohol.
She changed schools and the blackmailer returned, naming her new friends. This time he created a Facebook page, using Amanda's naked picture as the profile photo.
You can see Amanda's story in her own words:
The point is, enough is enough. Regardless of who it was that was blackmailing her, the 'friends' who left her, and the fact that yes, she made a bad decision which affected her whole life, this was a 15-year-old girl.
We all make mistakes as kids, but in the age of social media, these mistakes are harder to move on from.
Talk to your kids about this stuff. Tell your children that bullying in all of its forms is not okay.
If you're a teen, and you need help, don't be afraid to ask for it. If you're embarrassed to tell your parents, or your teachers, that's fine...but tell someone. Talk to your friends' parents, or tell your doctor. Call me at the radio station if you have to, but please, speak up.
I won't tell you it's easy, it's not. I was embarrassed when I first admitted out loud that I have depression, but in the end, believe me when I tell you that it will be okay.
There is help out there in various forms.
If you are being bullied, speak up. If you are depressed, speak up. Suicide is not the answer.
If you are bullying others, stop and think about what you are doing. Focus on bettering yourself -- and not by taking others down.
My heart goes out to Amanda's family and true friends. Let this be a lesson to us all.