The Link Between Cyber Bullying and Suicide
When people hear the word “bully” they often think of the tough guy in school who seems to push and shove his peers into lockers and take away their lunch money. The idea of this type of bully has become popular and many people today would consider it a means of toughening up and is also widely known as an inevitable part of growing up or a phase in a child’s life. Recently there has been a rise in a new form of bullying; cyber bullying. With the fast acting rise of technology and the expanding power and popularity of the internet there’s a new bully in town and it exists in your child’s computer. This type of torment is extreme, causing young people to take their lives. Additionally to the adolescents who successfully take their life, many of them still attempt and continue to strongly think about suicide. Teenagers have easy access to dozens of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, which allow other individuals to hide their true identity. Many of these websites have the option to make yourself anonymous where you can send any user a comment without them knowing who send it. It is also very easy for an individual to make a fake profile and attack other individuals that way. Individuals don’t always keep their identities a secret, many times groups of students target another student and send them harsh comments like “go kill yourself already” and “the world would be better off without you”. Amanda Todd, a Vancouver-area teenager who posted a story to YouTube last month about being cyber-bullied, was found dead Wednesday night in Coquitlam, Canada. Authorities believe she committed suicide (Grenoble, Ryan). This 14 year old girl committed suicide on October, 11, 2012 due to cyber bullying. Previous to her death, Todd posted a video on YouTube telling her story with a series of flash cards. The torment began, according to Todd's YouTube video, after she flashed a man online
when she was in seventh grade. One year later, she said, he tracked her down on
Facebook and forwarded her topless photo to everyone. She was bullied at each school
she went to, beat up by angry girls and attempted to kill herself by drinking bleach
(Grenoble, Ryan). Even after Todd attempted to commit suicide by drinking bleach bullied still targeted her by writing things like “you should’ve drank more bleach” on her Facebook wall. Individuals still continue to target her by posted negative comments on her R.I.P fan page. Another teenage girl who continues to receive negative comments even after her death is Phoebe Prince who committed suicide in 2010 at age 15. “Girls at Phoebe's school reportedly called her a "wh**e" and a "bi**h," viciously harassing her in person and on Facebook. At least one student gloated after Phoebe took her own life, "I don't care that she's dead.” (Holladay, Jennifer)”
Cyberbullying has spread so quickly with the wide spread of internet. According to the 2009 AP-MTV Digital Abuse Study done by Janice Gatti, 50% of people age 14-24 have experienced digitally abusive behavior. Surprisingly enough we might be a cyber bully without even knowing. Many individuals post some negative comments on YouTube or Tumblr without even knowing or thinking about how the other person might feel but certain individuals do this regularly and these are the cyber bullies.
Another suicide linked to cyber bullying is the death of 16 year old Jessica Laney. Laney being bullied on a website called ask.fm where users interact by asking each other questions is what caused her to commit suicide. Posts on Laney’s page range from the innocent – “What class do you like the most?” to the shockingly cruel – “Why are you so ugly?” and “Just kill yourself. You’re worthless” (Murray, Rheana). Close friends to Laney spoke about their friends death. “You get compliments sometimes, but it’s those negative comments that bring you
down,” close friend Cheyenne Ellsmore told local station....
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