As A Parent, I Worry! R.I.P. Amanda Todd

Posted in Parenting by

From the time our children come into our lives, the one almost instant and constant change is worry. When Ava was a little baby I worried about whether she was sleeping enough, drinking enough, being stimulated enough. With each milestone and each birthday that passes, the worries change but I am finding that the older she gets the bigger my worries have become.  I am a conscious parent & person, I’m not the type of person who can bury my head in the sand and continue to repeat that everything will be fine. I am proactive and look for proactive ways to consciously parent my child to ensure that she is raised to be everything SHE wants to be and everything we want her to be – confident, compassionate, thoughtful, integrity and with a strong sense of self worth.

I’m realising more and more that when it comes to raising a child, we can only lay the foundation for them, teach them morals and hope that when they are faced with difficult choices, they will make the right choice for them.  This of course is not an easy thing to do, as parents we give our children wings in the hope that they soar but if they crash, we need to be there to pick up the pieces for them.

But what happens if their crash is so damaging they can never recover? This thought really terrifies me and with each passing year, I become more and more fearful of the years ahead, of raising a tween and a teen. When she reaches the age where she wants to and needs to make her own choices and what the repercussions of those choices will be.

amanda-todd1

One such story that has frightened, horrified and scared the living cr*p out of me is the tragic suicide of Amanda Todd. This 15 year old girl committed suicide on the 10th October after enduring a lengthily and harrowing  cyber-bullying experience.

Please watch the video she made in September, that details her horrendous experience and ultimately lead to her suicide:

 

 

 

 

I watched this video yesterday and it left me feeling depressed for the remainder of the day. The extent of this bullying went on after she was dead. With naked photo’s of her on the autopsy table being circulated online and messages from those involved celebrating the fact that she was dead, that her attempts at suicide had finally worked.

Now I’m sure some people are thinking: “big deal, it’s just a topless photo” or that the cyber-bullying wasn’t that bad but I think it’s important to remember, Amanda was 15 years old. She was just a child, who did not have the emotional maturity or experience to deal with the bullying, threats and physical violence. She was not yet an adult with a strong sense of self, she did the best she could to cope in her circumstance, as a child.  I have been the victim of cyber-bullying before and even as an adult I will say this – it hurt and at times it scared me and I was a 30 something adult, not a 15 year old child.

This story really upset and scared me. What if Amanda Todd was my daughter? What if that was Ava… driven to suicide by bullies who went out of their way to make her life a living hell? Or what if Ava were one of the bullies?

I believe this story highlights many points for us as parents, none of which I want to go into to much detail about because I am most certainly not assigning blame to either Amanda or her parents in this tragedy.

But it scares me and it makes me worry for my own child, for what she will be faced with in the future, for who she may be exposed to and makes me worry about what choices she may make and the consequences there of.

Footnote: The internet vigilantes: Anonymous hackers’ group outs man, 32, ‘who drove girl, 15, to suicide by spreading topless photos of her

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2218532/Amanda-Todd-Anonymous-names-man-drove-teen-kill-spreading-nude-pictures.html#ixzz29XZ4l8T3

 

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13 Comments

  • Reply Melinda

    Hey Sharon….when I watched the video, I was amazed at the strength of this little girl. Two years is an eternity in a young girls life. She was a very strong girl. I read the article of the interview with her Mom. They did what they could to save their little girl and I respect that they tried everything they could. RIP little Angel

    October 17, 2012 at 10:06 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Agreed. I’m most certainly not assigning blame to either Amanda or her parents, what has happened is a tragedy, period. But it really does scare me to think about all that our little girls will be exposed to one day and if this could be them…
      It sickens, terrifies and saddens me deeply that we live in a society where evil lurks around every corner. And as for the bullies who helped the perp… that we are raising children so lacking in compassion and what kind of adults will they make?

      October 17, 2012 at 10:09 am
  • Reply Spiritedmama1

    I felt sick to my stomach! Dudie is only 3 but I too worry about the crap that’s happening everywhere. My cousin’s son starts high school next year… He’s a soft spoken shy boy and it just so happened that it came out recently that he’s been bullied at school. My heart aches for them.

    If I could I would put my kid in a bubble. But I guess we can only arm them for situations that “life” throws at you. It’s nerve wrecking being a parent!

    RIP sweet girl.

    October 17, 2012 at 11:21 am
  • Reply cat@jugglingact

    OH gosh, this does scare the hell out of me. SO very true – we can only lay as solid a foundation young and work that through. My heart bleeds for her family

    October 17, 2012 at 11:37 am
  • Reply Laura

    I haven’t watched the video but what an awful story 🙁 While I agree that you can’t assign blame here it just does reinforce me that we, as parents, need to be in our kids faces all the time. I don’t care (well I do) that Cameron feels I am unfair for not letting him get a cellphone. I am probably not regarding his privacy but I check his FB page and emails – I monitor who he is friends with and what he likes and will un-like and de-friend if I see fit.

    The world is too scary for parents to sit back and not be involved. (Again not saying they weren’t involved or didn’t do anything).

    There needs to be stronger law put in place for cyber bullying – it is too easy for people to do it. If a child is bullied at school the child and eventually the parents are all bought in and it is dealt with – there needs to be some sort of consequences online as well!

    October 17, 2012 at 11:41 am
  • Reply blackhuff

    This is scary. Not just for parents but for everyone. For anyone who love someone else in their life. When this happens to someone you love, this is terrible.

    October 17, 2012 at 11:57 am
  • Reply Chrisle

    Only last night I had a talk with my oldest daughter about so called friends on Facebook making snidey and hurtful remarks that upsetted and hurted her a lot .So much so that she started questioning her own identity .A lot of parents say that there is not a lot that you can do ,that it will toughen them up , that they should deal with it themselves etc.But I have seen how such a backseat type of parenting influenced their children .I am not talking in anyway about Annie’s parents .But friends of ours always said I was to involved in my children’s lives , that they will never learn to be tough etc.Their son was bullied for years and they just told him that it will make him stronger , to toughen up and sort it out himself .He ended up getting involved with wrong type of people and addicted to drugs .It is as parents just don’t want to put any effort into parenting ,everybody is just to busy and trying to make apologies that the children must learn to toughen up .They are only children and until they are emotionally and physically grown up parents must protect them , that is our job and responsibality .Children does not toughen up by being left alone to deal with bullies .They toughen up when they know their parents got their back , when they are learned how to handle such situations , learned how to be more emotionally intellegant and grow a strong and healthy self esteem .

    October 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm
  • Reply Tan

    Morgan is 11 and I have posted where she was caught bullying and how we dealt with it. I’m happy to say there has been no more reports of the bullying. Their Father has given her a blackberry which i am totally against as I feel she has free access to social media via it. He at first thought I was just being mean and said she needed to be able to call him when she wanted but i stood my ground. But when I caught her innocently sending a picture of her bra to her best friend via BBM. I then banned the phone from my home and advised her father. He has now banned certain friends and monitors her BBM and usage of the phone. She felt I was being unfair and silly because her best friend wouldn’t do anything with the picture and I do agree the I trust the best friend but what happens when best friend innocently sends it to her friend because she thinks it awesome etc and so it starts. These are our children they have no understanding of consequences or wisdom to sit and think if i do this what might happen? We have a family account for email which they will be welcome to use. and if I have my way because I am the meanest mom in the world they will not have Facebook or Twitter account or any social media. all Internet usage is done in the presence of an adult. I don’t believe that they will suffer or be harmed by the lack of it. they will have access to the internet and they will have access to the devices so they are not left behind educationally. But I have decided that I am going to make Morgan watch Amanda’s Video. because she needs to understand that Mommy isn’t just being mean for no reason. I will protect my girls as much as I possible can.

    October 17, 2012 at 12:16 pm
  • Reply Susan

    When I was 12 we moved to a new town and I experienced 6 months of terrible bullying at my new school before going to high school. It changed me for the rest of my life and I’m pretty sure it is what shaped me to be a ‘people pleaser’ and always wanting to be liked. It’s easy for people to say that you should toughen up and deal with it yourself and “it will make you stronger”, but some (probably most) kids aren’t able to deal with this kind of thing at 12 years old. I can identify with Amanda Todd’s loneliness of having no friends and sitting alone at school. It is very important for kids at that age to have friends. Which is probably why, when she did get some attention, she made the wrong choices because she was so desperate to have someone.
    My experience was in the days before social media and was bad enough. I don’t even want to imagine what the poor kids go through these days. Children can be so cruel and don’t realise the hurt they cause.

    It’s sickening enough how she was bullied while she was alive, but for it to continue after her death is just revolting. Posting a picture of her on the autopsy table?! It’s just sick.

    October 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm
  • Reply Sian

    I also read the story and watched the vid online yesterday. I thought about her and her family until I went to bed. It is so sad and I can’t believe that the bullying still continues. It definately worries me and I wonder what our children will have to deal with as technology progresses. Very scary indeed.

    October 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm
  • Reply Pandora

    Of course I also worry about these things. I saw the video as well, and it was heartbreaking. I also have a teenage niece and nephew who are both having tough times, not because of bullying as such, but just how life is for teens these days. After I read your post, I followed the links where the bully was outed, and after a reading for a while, especially how some people were questioning if he really was the guilty person, I thought, what if he isn’t the one, what if someone has a grudge? How easy is it to ruin someone’s life today using social media because they annoyed you? Scary thought.
    I also read recently that the reason young people are so quick to bully these days is that using FB twitter etc, they cannot see the result of what they are doing. They can’t see the face and expression of the person they have hurt, and so they feel no compassion and no guilt. we see every day how easy people find it to attack others on Twitter for instance. Same can be seen on forums, blog comments etc.
    We are all shocked at this story, but are we as adults, in general, setting a good example for our kids by not engaging in the same sort of behaviour, not even realising we are ‘bullying’ someone when we leave mean comments for example? It has just made me aware that not only do I need to equip my child to be able to deal with something like this, but that I also need to lead by example to prevent her from feeling that bullying others is ok. I

    October 17, 2012 at 11:10 pm
  • Reply Kristin

    We’ve not had to deal with cyber-bullying but we have had to deal with bullying. It got so bad that my son looked at me and said “I’d rather die than go back to that school.” That scared me so badly. But, we made it through and he is now a happy, healthy high school student.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:51 am
  • Reply tolovebella

    Shaz, I can’t go in and read those articles, nor can I watch her video. My heart will not be able to take it.
    I was bullied by a gang of girls throughout my primary school years. To this day, I remember how it made me feel. To this day, it contributes towards the feelings of inadequacy I have about myself.
    I found out that my niece (15 years old …) has also been bullied and victimised at school. She appears strong about it and I can only hope that it’s true.
    I’m sad for Amanda. I’m so very sad. I cannot imagine what her parents must be going through.
    My nephew, too, is bullied at school. When his mom got involved, it was temporarily fixed; but then the bullies just go back to their ways – and the fact that my nephew tattle-tailed, adds to their fuel.
    It is BECAUSE of the bullying that I endured that I am so distinctly aware of it.
    While I am fearful that she will be a victim, I am equally fearful that SHE may end up being a bully herself. I’m not sure which would devastate me more, to be honest. Knowing what I know.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:37 am
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