Editorial 19

Editorial 19

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It is sad (and typical) that Amanda Todd is finally getting the love and attention she deserves . . . after she’s dead.
Where was all of this outpouring when she was alive and suffering from her tormentors? Let’s hope they learn something about bullying before taking this to their graves.
Amanda was only 15 when she killed herself. We watched her heartbreaking plea for help on YouTube and imagined our own daughters struggling with similar growing pains. But what she endured went far beyond that – an inhuman cruelty that seems to know no bounds on the Internet . . . a wonderful invention that cowards hide behind.
Cyber bullying is everywhere. We even get it at the Chronicle. Some people spew their offensive tirades in emails because they don’t like what we’ve published. They don’t know how to get their point across intelligently, so they resort to abusive and hurtful language, which borders on intimidation and libel.
But we’re adults and can take it, unlike Amanda, who was young and impressionable and didn’t know where to turn. Her tormentors pushed her to the brink, and police are now trying to uncover their identities. All the power to them because these people deserve to be held accountable for Amanda’s suffering.
While schools are doing what they can to prevent bullying, our country must adopt tougher penalties for those convicted, especially when the victims commit suicide.
We’d like to see more money and resources spent on investigating cyber bullying and its effects. In the meantime, we implore parents to speak to their children about bullying and what can be done about it. Parents can often be unaware of what’s going on and how troubled their kids are. The guilt involved in a teen suicide must be unbearable.
Bullied children must know that help is available and they are not alone. A great resource is www.kidshelpphone.ca  (1-800-668-6868). The website has a forum where bullied kids write about their experiences, and then counsellors respond with advice.
One youth writes about being bullied by a boy who used to be his friend. The victim explains how he is physically assaulted, and that he’s being encouraged to fight back. But he doesn’t like fighting. “He is causing me to go into deep sadness and stresses me out 24/7,” the youth writes.
There are so many stories that need to be heard and so much intervention that needs to occur before it’s too late.
Sorry, Amanda.

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