Culture & Entertainment

Cyberbullying: Rest in peace Courtney and Amanda

Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Cyberbullying: Rest in peace Courtney and Amanda

In the November issue of Canadian Living, we featured Courtney's story. It's a heart-touching piece about cyberbullying. At 1:26 p.m. on the last Wednesday in March, Courtney posted this on Facebook: "Important fact: Every day teenagers take their lives because of bullying. So next time you wanna start something or say something or even start a rumor, think twice before you do! Post this if you have a heart." Later that evening she sent her mom a text – "I hope I am dead when u get home" – and then hung herself in the basement of her Parrsboro, N.S., home. And then, just last week, I heard the news of Amanda Todd. She changed schools three times in an attempt to get away from her Internet stalker. Sadly, he repeatedly found her and managed to continually bully her to the point where she felt life just wasn't worth living anymore. After a few failed suicide attempts she succeeded in taking her own life. Just a few weeks prior to her death, she posted this video on YouTube. These stories enrage me. As a mother of teenagers, it's hard to keep my heart out of these tragic stories. One thought that keeps recurring in my mind is: Are our kids truly safe in this new digital world? Are my kids, your kids, our kids getting harassed online? And if they are, would we know about it? Could it be happening right beneath our noses? Would they tell us if it was? Research suggests they wouldn't. Here are a few signs to look for. These key points might just be the difference in turning someone's life around.
  • Hesitant to be online; nervous when an instant message, text message or email appears
  • Visibly upset after using the computer or cellphone or suddenly avoids them
  • Hides or clears the computer screen or closes cellphone when you enter the room
  • Spends unusually long hours online in a tense pensive tone
  • Withdraws from friends, falls behind in schoolwork or wants to avoid school
  • Suddenly sullen, evasive or withdrawn; marked change in personality or behaviour
  • Trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, excessively moody or crying, seems depressed
  • Suspicious phone calls, emails or packages arrive at your home
  • Possible drop in academic performance
Let's tune into our children a little closer. Let's hug them a little tighter. Let's listen to their stories and let's try reading between the lines. Let's encourage them to sit with the lonely girl in the cafeteria. Let's get them to invite the nervous-looking boy walking through the halls over for dinner. Let's teach them not to turn a blind eye to bullying.
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Cyberbullying: Rest in peace Courtney and Amanda

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