Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cyber Bullying

Just weeks after posting a chilling video on YouTube, Amanda Todd, a troubled teenager from Port Coquitlam, B.C., killed herself at the tender age of 15. Ever since, the media has been abuzz with comments and analyses about cyber bullying, in this case, by a suspected pedophile from the US who has managed to evade the authorities till now, after targeting Amanda and torturing her to the point of suicide. In the wake of the teen's death, education management and social media experts have all weighed in about keeping teenagers safe from cyber bullies.

"Internet stalkers" are out there aplenty, and Amanda had the misfortune of being lured by one such predator who convinced her to expose herself on a webcam and then used the image to blackmail her by distributing it to her schoolmates, teachers, and everyone in her social circle, when she refused to put on a more explicit webcam show for him. The hounding and the torture continued even after she changed schools, leading the tormented teen to take her life shortly after posting the YouTube video, comprising of handwritten notes about her lonely, haunted life.

Amanda Todd's life is a learning experience for all teenagers who need to be wary of cyber stalkers and pedophiles who troll the Internet. Children have to be educated about the dangers of exposing themselves to strangers on webcam, and also about the cruelty of bullying their peers like Amanda Todd. Amanda was not only victimized by her stalker, but also by her schoolmates who posted disgusting images and comments on social media, even after her death. The authorities should take all steps needed to prevent cyber bullying of any kind, punishing the perpetrators and teaching teenagers how to be good digital citizens.

RIP, Amanda Todd! 

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