“I’m struggling to stay in this world, because everything just touches me so deeply. I’m not doing this for attention. I’m doing this to be an inspiration and to show that I can be strong. I did this to myself to make pain go away, because I’d rather hurt myself then someone else. Haters are haters but please don’t hate, although I’m sure I’ll get them. I hope I can show you guys that everyone has a story, and everyone’s future will be bright one day, you just gotta pull through. I’m still here aren’t I?”
These were some of the last words of Amanda Todd. A teenager who committed suicide because she was bullied so severely over social media, and was exploited online. Digital Technology can have very negative impacts on a persons life. Sometimes so severe that they consider/commit suicide.
To tell her story, I decided to show the video she posted about a month before her death (October 10th, 2012).
Amanda Michelle Todd was born on November 27th, 1996 in Port Coquitlam, B.C. About a month before her death she posted a video on YouTube where she used index cards to tell her story of being blackmailed, exploited, and physically/mentally assaulted. The video went viral after her death, receiving 1’600’000 views in just 3 days. The video has more then 19 million views now. One thing she doesn’t mention in the video is that Amanda had a language-based learning disability and was taunted by her classmates for her low grades and for the time she spent in the hospitals as a result of her disability. “It didn’t really help that after she got out of the hospital recently some kids started calling her ‘psycho’ and saying she had been in the crazy hospital,” says Amanda’s mom Carol, “She went to the hospital, she had therapy, she had counselling, she was on a good track. On the day she gets out, that happens. I shake my head and think, ‘Are kids really that nasty, do they really not think, what if it was them?'”
Digital Technology played a huge part in her life. Her story would of never gone the way it did if the Digital Technology (specifically social media) she was blackmailed, exploited, and abused over, never existed. She would’ve never gotten those awful messages from her classmates such as, “she deserved what she got”, and after she drank the bleach and luckily survived – “she should try a different bleach. I hope she dies this time and isn’t so stupid”. Most of the things that led her to cut, overdose on the antidepressants, and commit suicide were the awful messages and the pictures of the Clorox (bleach), and the ditches (from when she laid in a ditch after the kids from her school beat her up). All of those messages and pictures directed to her never would’ve existed if we didn’t have Digital Technology. At the same time, I don’t know if it would’ve been better if Digital Technology never existed because the bullies would’ve probably physically abused her a lot more at school and she would’ve been in a lot more physical pain which might have led her to commit suicide sooner.
Here is an example of one of the most common hate pictures: http://knowyourmeme.com/photos/418271-amanda-todds-death
After her suicide, more than 1 million Facebook users liked her Facebook memorial page, and she had a memorial in her hometown. Mixed in with the good things were also bad things. People kept leaving awful comments on her Facebook page, and kept posting their rude comments about her. In response to her death, a motion was introduced in the Canadian House of Commons. The motion proposed a study of bullying in Canada, and for more funding and support for anti-bullying organizations in Canada. In order to eliminate this problem, I think there should be more monitoring over websites like Facebook, so if someone sees a rude comment that could potentially lead to something like Amanda’s story, it can be reported and hopefully stopped before it goes too far.
In conclusion, cyber-bullying is one of the many ways people are being bullied and it is causing multiple problems for the victims and their families. Some cyber-bullying incidents have ended with people dying, they have gone that far. I found some statistics that I actually find quite sickening. Due to bullying, suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens, resulting in about 4,400 suicides per year, and for every suicide there are at least 100 attempts. That’s 440,000 suicide attempts PER year. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it. Cyber-bullying isn’t something we should be taking lightly, and hopefully people will realize that and put an end towards it.