It Took Kids’ Lives Away. Cyberbullying Stories That Really Happened
Bullying among children and teenagers has always existed and, sadly, is likely to remain a part of growing up in the future. However, as technologies develop and “cyberneticize” our social life, bullies get more possibilities to keep their victims under pressure 24 hours a day 7 days a week, leaving no place where one can feel safe. Moreover, now it takes only seconds to spread any information among hundreds of people and make a kid literally die from shame.
Cyberbullying is more common type of bullying than it seems to be: for example, according to the National Bullying Prevention Center, nearly 20 percent of high school students have experienced it. Moreover, any kid can become a subject of it regardless of his/her social status, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, appearance, school performance, although “white crows” are more likely to get abused.
Below you can read 12 real cyber bullying stories to learn more about this serious problem. All of the following cases involve kids between the ages of 10 and 15 who killed themselves because of online tormenters. Most of the stories are about girls, but it doesn’t mean that boys rarely face such situations.
Ashlynn Conner, died at 10
The girl was an object of ridicule for her classmates who found pleasure in calling her “fat” and “ugly”. They even told her she was a slut, she didn’t know what this word meant though. With a new short haircut, she also got a new nickname – “Pretty Boy”. It pained her so much that she begged her mother to home-school her, but the woman refused. The next day, Ashlynn’s sister found her hanging by a scarf in her closet.
Ashley Cardona, died at 12
Ashley was unusually tall for her age and had a prominent scar on a face. That was a reason why her classmates called her “Gorilla Scarface”. This poor girl from Denver mentioned bullying only once, so her parents didn’t imagine how big her problem was. When Ashley had been fed up with insults, she posted “I’m just not Okay” on Instagram and took her own life.
Rebecca Sedwick, died at 12
Rebecca died because of jealousy and envy of other girls who hated her for being friends with a local boy. She was deluged with abusive messages from a group of about fifteen girls at her school. They wrote her “Why are you still alive?” and “Go kill yourself”. Rebecca eventually changed one of her online screen names to “That Dead Girl” and made a screensaver with herself lying on a railroad track. It was a sign of the end. A few days later she jumped from atop a cement silo and died.
Angel Green, died at 14
This girl from Indiana purposely hanged herself from a tree in front of her school bus stop in the early morning. She did this so her bullies could see her corpse on their way to school. The latter mocked her as a “slut” and a “whore”. A girl had already troubles with her father who hit her and had been jailed for that. Angel’s classmates decided to use this fact to make her suffer even more by repeating this story at every opportunity. After several months of hell, Angel wrote a note mentioning the reason of her deed and committed a suicide.
Hannah Smith, died at 14
This girl chose the wrong place for seeking advice and posted a question on Ask.fm about how to get rid of her eczema. Trolls immediately pounced on the victim attacking her with messages “drink bleach” and “go die”. Later Hannah’s older sister found her body hanging by the neck at home.
Amanda Todd, died at 15
When Amanda was in the seventh grade, a male stranger approached her online and convinced to flash him her naked breasts during a webcam session. A year after the same man contacted her on Facebook asking to perform a live sex show for him on camera, otherwise he would make her topless photo available to everyone. Amanda refused to do it and a pervert delivered on his promise.
After that he and several bullies were constantly abusing Amanda, never leaving her alone, although she moved to another city. The girl tried killing herself by drinking bleach, but doctors saved her. Amanda’s another attempt of suicide resulted in her death. Before doing it, she made a video telling her story.
David Molak, died at 15
David became a target of cyber bullying for no reason, except for the fact he had a good-looking girlfriend. He received abusive messages from a group of bullies. Because of them he developed a severe depression and lost his motivation to do anything, although not so long ago he had been a fitness enthusiast and enjoyed his life. The boy couldn’t overcome his suffering and hung himself in his family’s back yard.
Hailee Lamberth, died at 13
Hailee suffered from epilepsy and as if that weren’t bad enough, she was constantly taunted by classmates for her condition. They wrote her messages saying “Drink Bleach and Die” and “Why don’t you die?” A schoolmate once used a voicemail to ask her “Where are you, Hailee? I hope you died.” Not being able to take it anymore, Hailee shot herself in the head.
Megan Meier, died at 13
Megan was suicidal ever since the age of eight suffering from severe depression. That is why she had to take antidepressants and antipsychotics that didn’t help her to recover completely. A female neighbor decided to tease her with a fake male account on MySpace.
At first a bully made Megan emotionally attached to “Josh Evans” and then gradually turned on her. “He” said he’d heard rumors she was “not very nice” to her friends. “Josh” made some of their private messages public and finally wrote: “The world would be a better place without you”. Being very sensitive, Megan took “his” words to heart, replied with “You’re the kind of boy a girl would kill herself over” and twenty minutes later she was found hanging by a belt in her bedroom closet.
Kenneth Weishuhn, died at 14
Kenneth was a gay high school freshman from Iowa and became a victim of discrimination because of his orientation. At first Kenneth’s classmates created an anti-gay Facebook group, never missed a chance to offend him at school and made death threats by phone. This “bullying campaign” started after Kenneth “came out”. The worst thing was his friends’ betrayal. A lot of people from the boy’s school either joined tormenters’ team or remained ignorant. Kenneth was harassed to the point that he committed suicide.
Tovanna Holton, died at 15
A girl from Florida was recorded by a “friend” while bathing. Later, the video was uploaded to Snapchat, of course, without Tovanna’s permission. Viewers took screenshots from it and began to post the images on other social media platforms. Tovanna’s most recent boyfriend, who also watched the video, reposted it on Twitter to hurt her even more. Eventually, all of that made Tovanna kill herself.
After reading these stories you may have wondered where those kids’ parents had been all the time. Well, in most cases they had been with their kids, at least they had lived with them in one house, talked to them probably gone shopping with them and so on. Why couldn’t they intervene and prevent a tragedy?
Parents often fail to recognize the gravity of the situation. Some of them even think that certain challenges help to build character or they underestimate the impact of online bullying, because they don’t see a real physical threat. Often kids don’t tell parents about their problems and keep their feelings to themselves. In some cases parents are aware about their children’s problems and understand them, but sometimes it’s just too late.
Remember, it’s much more easier to prevent a problem than to solve it, so don’t leave any suspicious signs without attention. Make sure you provide your kids with enough support so they feel safe and confident, build a relationship of trust with them and offer your genuine help on their road to growing up. Talk to them about bullying, tell them that it is bad, but it’s not the end of the world. Tell them stories of their favorite celebrities who went through bullying and, most importantly, be their friend so that they can tell you everything.