Amanda, victim of cyberbullyingWe’ve all heard stories about kids being bullied online, but few of us are aware of just how harmful this form of high-tech bullying can be. Of course, bullying of any kind is unacceptable, but when the powers of technology, particularly social media, are put in the wrong hands, the effects on an adolescent’s reputation and self-esteem can be both far-reaching and devastating. In fact, it can even be deadly.
One Teen’s Tragic Story
The story of Amanda Todd, a 15-year old girl who was stalked and bullied online for years before committing suicide on October 10, 2012, is a very visible example of the harm caused by cyberbulling, in large part due to the now-viral YouTube video Amanda made a little over a month before her tragic death. In the video, Amanda stands silently flipping through cards she created as a way of telling her story of “struggling, bullying, suicide, and self-harm.” Unfortunately, Amanda met someone online who she thought was a friend, but instead turned out to be a stalker who followed her from city to city and school to school, sharing “private” photos with her classmates, thus ruining her reputation and inviting a stream of incessant bullying that ultimately drove her to do the unthinkable.
Cyberbullying and Teen Suicide
Unfortunately, Amanda’s story isn’t an isolated incident. In fact, heartbreaking stories like these are becoming more common. There’s no doubt that bullying in any form is associated with suicidal thoughts and actions, but it appears that this connection is even stronger when the bullying takes place online. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center’s report, the risk of attempted suicide nearly doubles for teens who have been the victims of cyberbullying.
What Parents Can Do
While you may not be able to singlehandedly solve the epidemic of cyberbullying in the U.S., there are some things you can do to protect your own child from this type of online abuse. In addition to maintaining an ongoing dialogue with your child about his social life—both on and offline—make the extra effort to ensure an extra degree of protection between your youngster and anyone in cyberspace who intends to do him harm.
How Qustodio Can Help
With Qustodio, you can monitor your child’s social networking activity from any location, so children are always protected. With the ability to see who your child is talking to online and exactly what the conversations entail, you can keep a close eye on any potentially harmful relationships your child is forging online and put a stop to them before any irreparable harm is done.
Do the responsible thing, and download Qustodio today. It could, quite literally, save your child’s life.