Cyberbullying Taken Step Too Far

Kenyon Watson & Maddie Geary, Staff Writers

On Oct. 10, 15-year-old Amanda Todd committed suicide in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia after experiencing excessive cyber-bullying due to an unfortunate mistake she made in the 7th grade. In her YouTube video entitled “Amanda Todd’s Story: Struggling, Bullying, Suicide, Self Harm,” Todd used flashcards to tell her difficult life story. Regardless of her past mistakes, Todd’s peers should not have bullied her.

It started in middle school, when Todd and her friends would go on sites such as Omegle and Chat Roulette which enable users to communicate and video chat with strangers. Todd confessed that she liked the attention strangers gave her because they complimented her beauty. Once, while video chatting with a stranger, she flashed her breasts in front of the camera.

One year later, a man chatted her on Facebook, threatening to release pictures that he had taken of her to the public if she didn’t “put on a show,” for him. She refused, and a few days later the pictures were released. She lost respect from her family, friends and strangers, which she explains in the video.

Over the duration of two years, Todd switched schools multiple times, all while dealing with depression, anxiety, self harm (cutting and drinking bleach) and suicidal thoughts. She then made another mistake by having sex with a boy who was in a relationship with a different girl at her school. When students found out, they physically abused her and no one, including faculty, stood up for her. Later that day, her father found her hiding in a ditch.

Todd’s peers posted pictures of bleach and ditches on Facebook, and commented that she should kill herself. She decided this bullying had gone on for too long, and she wanted to put herself out of misery. After posting her YouTube video, she committed suicide.

At Miramonte, there is much controversy over whether or not Todd deserved the incessant bullying from her peers. While the outcome of her choices were horrific, some may argue that Todd’s actions made the consequences that followed inevitable. Although Todd made naïve, poor choices, she in no way deserved the bullying. Her peers took cyber-bullying to an extreme level, and it is hard to imagine someone being in a situation like that.

Sophomore Grant Miller has mixed feelings on the situation. “I think Amanda Todd was extremely incorrect with her actions on the website because she flashed the camera, which is setting her up for failure because it is child pornography. I guess the kids that bullied her did take it too far, but it is her own fault. She could have stayed strong and powered through the bullying, but instead she gave up and it ended in a very unfortunate situation.”

Sophomore Jennifer Stanten believes that Todd did not deserve any form of bullying.“I definitely don’t think she deserved what happened. I can’t even imagine how people could be that horrific to someone, knowing that it was affecting them in such a bad way.”