The suicide death of 15 year-old Amanda Todd was a preventable and tragic event. Her mother, Carol Todd, has asked that her daughter’s death be used as a means to prevent the death of another child. Our children need to understand that suicide is not the coping option. That one can survive being bullied. That we all make mistakes, that we all are stronger when we have a support system to lean on. And yes, in Amanda Todd’s case, she was stalked online by an unidentified individual, who took an indiscretion of a 12 year-old Amanda (she had lifted her blouse to a web-cam) and used that piece of video to torrment Amanda. The RCMP are asking people with information related to the investigation to share it via email at: AmandaTODDinfo@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.
Both the Ottawa Citizen and Vancouver Sun have comprehensive pieces on Amanda’s harassment, and subsequent suicide. The Vancouver Sun has also collated screen shots from Amanda Todd’s own video: Images from Amanda Todd’s Video
Chris Pirillo, a man who I admire very much, has a suggestion – a one-day conference for children to learn that bully victims can and do survive and most importantly for them to know that life is worth living. I am supporting Chris in his effort to put such a conference together. I solicit your support, spiritual, fiscal, and participatory. Needed will be sponsors; 20-min presentations by individuals who have been bullied, have survived the bullying, and are willing to share their story so that the children in the physical and virtual audiences can hear from a cross-section of adults that one can survive being bullied. Please contact me directly at ctb@BurgessCT.com . We can not afford to lose one more child.
Here is Chris Pirillo’s video where he discusses his idea: Amanda Todd reminded me that bullying victims can survive
I’ve written quite a bit on the suicide of our youth due to bullying – bullycide (Read past pieces here) writing on this topic, I’ve always advocated getting out in front of the issue of bullying. In 2011, I researched the death of 34 children within the United States, all victims of bullycide. Children who ranged from a youngster of 9 to a teen of 19, those stories were written through tears (Bullying: The 34 we lost in 2010 to Bullycide) Today’s blog is as well.
I’ve been consistent in my call to action:
- Encourage your children to accept who they are, and be all they can be with the capabilities given to them.
- Direct your young on appropriate use of the Internet as a tool of collaboration, knowledge sharing and commerce, and not as a tool of hate.
- Make it your business to know and understand the many ways in which your child is engaging online and communicating – Smartphone, laptop, Xbox or wii and where: your house, your neighbors, the library, etc. Then monitor this activity. I’ve often said, it is not espionage to know who and what your child is being exposed to online or via any other communications medium.
- Teach your young how to cope when overwhelmed and how to discuss this with you.
- Ensure your child understands mistakes are universal, and unless it stops the sun from rising in the morn, you and they can work through the perceived error.
- Show your child how to report and confront bullying and call it out as wrong. Show them how to do this in a non-confrontational, but direct manner. To be a silent witness is to endorse the action.
In 2011, I spoke on the Gnomedex stage at the Seattle Interactive Conference, of the Unintended Consequences – Time for a paradigm shift and the need to change how we address the scourge of bullying; how we help our children survive bullying – you can watch the 30 minute presentation here: Christopher Burgess – Unintended Consequences – Time for a Paradigm Shift.
Please support Chris Pirillo’s idea of a conference of survivors for the children.