Friday, October 12, 2012

Once again, bullying claims another victim

This time it was Amanda Todd, a Vancouver area teenager who was cyber-bullied relentlessly by a boy who used a webcam video of her to torment her. She innocently flashed her naked breasts during a webcast with the boy after he flattered her. He then used that image to torment her, ruining her young life. 

Authorities believe Amanda committed suicide. Her body was found, Wednesday night, October 11, 2012 in Coquitlam, Canada. She would have celebrated her 16th birthday next month.

 She was a mere seventh grader when the webcam flashing occurred. But the cyber-bullying from this boy was relentless and continued for over a year. He ruined her reputation at school, causing her to switch schools several times. 

He stalked her at every new school where he’d re-post her naked picture on social media for her new friends to see. He even started a Facebook page using her un-sensored  image as his profile picture.

The kids at these schools were no angels either. They piled on the bullying, using the webcam picture as an excuse to ostracize her and make her feel unwelcomed.

This past September, Amanda, posted a video on Youtube, where she describes what happened to her.

She does this in silence, using handwritten flashcards.  She holds the flashcards in front of her as if hiding behind them. But her paper shield does not hide the anguish on her face as the most poignant words on the cards flash before the camera.

My question in these situations is always, “Where are the adults!”  Why do these kids find it okay to treat anyone with such cruelty and lack of humanity? Where are the adults? 

The computer is a very powerful tool. Without supervision, some kids are behaving like the worst kind of human beings. We, as parents, shouldn’t be so cool, or politically correct or simply too busy to monitor what our kids are doing on social media. Having access to social media should be a privilege kids earn by showing responsibility.  It should not be an assumed right simply because it’s so easily available.     

It is obvious that school rules against bullying are not working either.  Amanda was also beat up on school grounds in a mob scene. Again, where were the adults!

The school rules against bullying don't work. They continue victimizing those that are bullied. Just the other day, I saw a news story about a boy who tried to defend himself from a bully at school. 

Guess what happened? He got suspended for fighting back when the bully physically attacked him. In other words, he got the same punishment as the bully. Where is the justice in that? Because he defended himself, the boy now has a blemished school record. What kind of message does that send to kids who may want to defend anyone who is being bullied? We are creating a society of silent bystanders and heartless miscreants.

I hope the tipping point to this crisis comes soon. I pray that Amanda's life and horrible experience does not go unnoticed.

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