As someone who grew up during the evolution of technology, I can see both the positive and negative consequences to the ever-growing use and growth of technology. After watching the video “The Sextortion of Amanda Todd” these consequences became even more apparent. As I am maturing past my adolescent years, I can still remember what it was like to be that age- the age where curiosity develops and the effects of actions are ignored. During the teen years, it is very hard to remember that everything we do has a reciprocal outcome. This was a lesson Amanda Todd quickly learned.
October 10, 2012 Amanda Todd’s name hit the news- this was the day this young, vibrant girl committed suicide from learning this lesson. Prior to this event, she had created a Youtube video explaining what she was going through regarding bullying, a video that has received over 8 million views. Amanda Todd was somewhat in the same generation as I was where technology was developing and everything was new and exciting. Todd had started experimenting with Youtube, after receiving a webcam, and posting videos of her singing various songs. After some time, she got sucked into BlogTV- a site where people connected with people all over the world through webcam. To progress the story, she had fallen victim to a group of people called cappers (people who trick underage girls to strip on camera then blackmail them as a result). Regretfully, Amanda Todd had flashed one of these individuals once and would forever live to deal with the consequences. The picture of Amanda Todd was spread everywhere, even claiming its own Facebook page. The amount of bullying, both occurring online as well as at school, was what pushed Todd to the absolute edge where the only way she felt she could get out was by taking her own life. While Amanda Todd’s video and suicide had brought further attention to the severe situations of bullying, many teens and young adults face this on an everyday basis. One regretful decision of flashing the camera will forever haunt Amanda Todd, as she soon learnt that after something is put up on the internet, it very rarely goes away.
After viewing this documentary, I was left feeling angered and upset. I was angry because it is very maddening to hear about individuals whose sole purpose online is to sexually blackmail young teens. The chaos caused by these people will usually forever stay with their victims as they deal with the aftermath. I was also upset because, due to the newness of technology, police are struggling to be able to catch these people. I would never doubt the hard work police men and women do, but I feel like these acts of bullying get under-prioritized compared to physical bullying- when in fact Cyberbullying is often “more devastating and long-lasting“.
So, how are police and people supposed to prevent something they don’t fully understand? As a teacher, it becomes obvious the importance of teaching students about their online identity and the consequences that come with it. It is important as a teacher to both show the benefits and opportunities technology can present, but with this lesson should follow a lesson about the aftermath of such technology. It is often suggested that to stop cyberbulling, the individuals should just logout and stop using the form of technology that they are being bullied with- this I find a very naive idea. Instead, with education these kind of situations can be prevented from even occurring in the first place. It is also important to establish a safe and kind environment for all students in the school so there will be less desire to spread hateful messages and cause harm.
As a future teacher, I feel even more motivated to make a difference in my students’ lives. With education and a safe, welcoming environment I am hoping to equip my students with the knowledge on how to avoid cyberbulling and stop it from happening within my group of students. Cyberbulling is a serious problem in today’s generation, and with every problem there is a group of people working to make things better- I aspire to be one of these people.
Here is a list of sites that can help you, if you or someone you know, is being cyberbullied:
4. Ryan’s Story– another victim of Cyberbullying