It’s a simplistic view of the world, indeed, but after hearing about what happened to teenager Amanda Todd in British Columbia, one has to wonder where our society is heading.
Amanda Todd was the young woman who took her own life two weeks ago after enduring years of Internet harassment and bullying at her school by peers. The 14-year old made an error in judgment when she was 12, and exposed her breasts to an as yet unnamed online harasser. That person took a screen shot of the young woman’s pose, effectively creating child pornography, and used it against her, setting up a Facebook page with the photo, and spreading it around her school community.
For that one mistake, Todd was bullied and beaten up, and after suffering through that for years, committed suicide, but not before going on YouTube and outlining the course of events with flashcards.
Anyone who hasn’t seen her eight-minute video really should have a look. It is truly heartbreaking.
It is easy to point fingers at her tormentors, but unfortunately, those tormentors aren’t letting the young woman rest, even now.
Go online, check out her video, and then scroll down the page to the comments section. There you will see some support and sympathy for Amanda Todd, but you will also note plenty of meanness and continued hateful judgment of Todd’s actions. The bullying continues, even after the death of this young person.
Many of us remember those early teen years as being anxiety ridden and filled with emotional landmines. It was difficult to navigate years ago. Now it is even harder.
Imagine the silly mistakes you made at 12 and 13 years old. There are things we’d done that perhaps even now we wouldn’t want our parents to know about, let alone the entire world.
But today, the young people of our world have that to contend with – the world. Any stupid mistake in judgment stays with them forever if caught on video, as many stupid mistakes now often are.
It’s heartbreaking to think that one’s entire life could well be dogged by something you did as a 12-year old, but nowadays, that is entirely possible.
It’s an issue that needs to be dealt with. Parents, teachers and peers need to step up to help out the young people across our nation who have to deal with such terribly huge problems.
When we were young, our fears were intensified because we didn’t know the potential outcomes. Now, the fears of young people is ever-more intense because they do know the outcome.
Unfortunately, it is too late for Amanda Todd. Let’s try and create something positive from the horrible situation she found herself in and find a way to keep the dialogue open. Because if there is one certainty, it’s this - Amanda Todd was not alone in the problem she faced. There are others in similar situations, and the discussion on the problem needs to continue.
Elizabeth MacDonald, Editor, The Charter