The True Tragedy of Amanda Todd

Amanda todd

Article by Carol Powell
The most recent 'news worthy' teenage suicide is that of the British Columbia high school student Amanda Todd. If you have a Facebook, or turn on your TV, I'm sure you have at least heard the name. She created a YouTube video, describing her years of bullying, and harassment online by a pedophile, crying out for help, just a month before her final suicide attempt. As an individual I can very much relate to the experience of Amanda Todd, and at the risk of exposing publicly some haunting memories of my own teenage past, I will share with you, some of the more disturbing details of the average teenage girl.

Though the story of Amanda Todd is one making headlines, it is no longer a seldom occurrence. I am a bit older then Todd, myself turning 25 the day I'm sitting to write this article. But I too, as a young teenager, started tampering with the internet around age 14. We didn't have webcams back then, but chat rooms we're the big thing. My parents we're on the verge of divorce, which is another much more common occurrence these days. Needless to say, they we're spending more of their energy at the time fighting with each other, instead of paying much attention to what I was doing. Unless I went and did something crazy in a desperate strive for attention and love, which I would do. Seeing as how, in her video, Todd expressed moving from Dad to Moms, I assume at some point she was going through a similar ordeal. Divorces are never pleasant for anyone involved, especially the children.

The internet is riddled with pedophiles, but I don't think you need me to educate you about that. If you have ever seen ‘To Catch a Predator' you know all too true, how the evils you try to protect your children from are sitting right at home, on your computer. They also know how lure in your children. They will tell them exactly what they want to hear. “You're amazing, and beautiful, and you can do anything.” Things that all too often now-a-days our parents don't have the time to tell us. Then once they have leverage, they use it to the extreme to get what they want in order to fulfill their sick desires. Like in the case of Amanda Todd; pushed for over a year to show a creepy old pedobear her breasts, she finally caved…to her own torture and demise. After this sick man got what he wanted, he used it to get more, and when she wouldn't budge; he sent her child pornography to everyone online. People she knew, and people she didn't. Her reputation was ruined.

I was recently told by someone all too close to me, that every man WANTS to sleep with young teenage girls, but don't because they know it's wrong, and other guys would never admit it because it's looked down upon. If this is true I honestly don't want to live on this planet anymore. Tell Redbull to build a spaceship to another planet, and I will be the first person to test drive it, and I'll do it for free. So long as I never come back.

Amanda Todd is a perfect example of how just because a girl is going through puberty, does not make her ready for any type of sexual relationship, or even make good judgment when it comes to simply sending a picture. It's a good rule to go by, if a girl is under 18, and you are over 25, she probably has severe psychological issues, for even expressing interest in talking to you, although your psychological issues may be far worse, and far more dangerous if you find yourself talking to a girl this age. This girl was clearly looking for love and attention that she was not finding at home. She needed to fill a void. Even her video on YouTube shows one last desperate cry, for anyone to help her make her life better, and somehow change the choices she had made. Luckily for me, although I was asked by many, I never sent any nude pictures to anyone over the internet. They don't give up either. They will keep asking, keep pressuring. They will talk to you about your problems and your life when no one else will, and then they will try to make you believe that they are someone you can trust. They come in all shapes and sizes. As a 15 year old, I spoke, with Police, Firemen, City Workers, people of all trades. From as close as in my small hometown of 1.9 square miles, to as far as 6 hours away. All willing to come to me, if I promised to take off my clothes.

How do we stop it? It starts at home. It starts with parents paying attention to their children, letting them know they are there.
It starts with teaching your children that their bodies are sacred and only to be shared with those most precious to them. Not some backwards bible, no sex before marriage crap that no kid is going to listen to.
It starts in teaching your child that they need to be able to love themselves, before they can expect love from anyone else (except you of course). It starts with teaching our children about the harsh natures of the world, and not trying to hide and protect them from it, leaving them ignorant of the evils that exist. It starts with teaching your children that their bodies are sacred and only to be shared with those most precious to them. Not some backwards bible, no sex before marriage crap that no kid is going to listen to. A reasonable understanding that though you don't have to wait forever, it's okay, and important to wait, and if you don't, there could be negative repercussions. It starts with teaching our children not only that they need to love themselves, but HOW to love themselves. There is so much subliminal messaging even towards our kids these days, it's disgusting.

Barney's is partnering with Disney, to create new Disney characters designed to wear designer clothes in a holiday promotion this year. It was decided on both ends that Minnie Mouse was too short and fat to be caught dead in Lanvin, and Daisy Duck in Dolce & Gabbana. So they came up with a 5'11 size 0 Minnie. What type of message are we sending to young children? That you have to be perfect, and if your not perfect, you need to change to be perfect, or expect ridicule and shame? That Minnie wears thousand dollar dresses, so if you can't afford it, you're not good enough? There are so many things wrong with this that the fact that the Minnie just looks absolutely disgusting, lands at the bottom of the list. I am not a parent, but I do call on every parent to put your damn foot down, and say that setting unrealistic expectations for our children, is not okay. I mean, I thought I had it bad, with Disney promising me a prince charming (you lying bastards), but this, is just crossing the line.

This isn't skinny Minnie. This is Minnie with a severe eating disorder. There is a petition you can sign, if you are as disgusted by this as I am.

You the parent set the standards for your children. We can all remember the hardships of teenage life. Now, if you you're a child contemplating suicide, even briefly, all it takes is a quick Google search, and your life is over before you even know what you took for granted. Stop living for tomorrow, and teach your children to appreciate the beauty in today, in themselves, and in their ability to change the world, and people around them, regardless of any past mistakes. There will always be people against you, that how you know you're doing it right. You can't make 100% of the people happy with you 100% of the time. Inevitably, you will end up pissing some people off. That's how you know you are making an impact, making people think, making people talk. Teach your kids that that's okay, and that every mistake is an opportunity to learn.

So many people these days take little responsibility in the upbringing of their children. I've noticed especially the ones who work to support the family, and maybe your one of the lucky minority that didn't get divorced. This doesn't give you the right to be a half assed parent when it comes to teaching your kid about the world we live in, and the evils that exist. Just because it's not as easy as it was in the 1950's doesn't mean it's not still your responsibility to do it. We live in a new internet age, which comes with the additional responsibility of teaching your children the wondrous amounts of knowledge, and also the huge potential for danger waiting behind the computer screen. You can't just talk to your kids about drugs anymore. We have a suicide epidemic, talk to your kid about suicide. Use examples of Amanda Todd. You don't have to use graphic details to get the point across. Show what happened to her, and so many others. Kids bully, and will be bullied. It will be much easier to get rid of the suicide, and teach our kids that just because a bully says something doesn't make the word of God, and you decide your own value. Teach them that if every time they get on Facebook they cry, that Facebook is not an essential part of their existence.

Teach them the value of life. If you see your kid is down, don't just ignore it and watch the game, or finish that work. You would jump in front of a moving train for your child wouldn't you? So take the time now, while they are most influential.

I know it can be hard to talk about things like suicide, because death is so Taboo in our society. Mainly because your parents didn't have the balls to talk to you about it either. As humans we love to avoid things we don't understand, one of them being death. So take a weekend, bring your kid some place beautiful, show them the sunrise and the sunset. Explain how each one is precious.
Even victims of suicide who attempt it several times, don’t usually want to die everyday.
That you don't need to know what happens when you die, to know that life is a beautiful experience for your soul, sometimes hard, sometimes a fun ride. Never anything to be taken for granted and thrown away. I promise you if your child is ever being bullied and contemplates suicide, instead of going to Google, and taking the action, they will go watch the Sunset and think about what you said. Think about how to do that, would mean to never see something so beautiful again. That's all you need, is that few minutes, that hour, to remember all the reasons you have to stay alive, because it the sheer moment of panic, none of those things exist. Suicide is rarely a drawn out, planned down to the last detail type decision, unless you truly do have a mental disorder.

It's more common, that in an overwhelmed panic, where you feel like there is no way out, you make a drastic choice. Even victims of suicide who attempt it several times, don't usually want to die everyday. If they did, they would attempt suicide every day. Before anyone puts in their two cents about my views on suicide, I'd say I'm a reputable source, considering I had the same mentality as Todd as a teen, though for different reasons. I just wish my parents had taken more time to do what I recommended above. Though I suppose, neither one of them really felt there was much beauty in the world. If they did, they certainly never told me. You need to teach your kids, what to expect, and how to deal with all situations. Stop trying to shelter them. It only makes reality that much more harsh when they find out it's not all sunshine and rainbows like you told them.

Unfortunately for Amanda Todd, her time to learn has come and passed. Let's not let her die in vain. Let's make sure that her purpose on this earth is served. That purpose is clearly to make us aware. WAKE UP. Make sure this never happens again. These are your children. Instill the love, care, and self esteem that they desperately need from you, before they end up a headline as well.

The True Tragedy of Amanda Todd, is not the story of being bullied, but in the failing we are doing to our children, by wanting to shelter them and keep them innocent, instead of teaching them how to preserve themselves. You won't be there forever.

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