Friday, 24 January 2014 00:00

Cyberstalking Suicides on the Increase

One of the saddest and most disturbing trends associated with the use of Internet social networking and chat platforms by teens is the increased incidence of suicides caused by cyberstalking and online bullying. One recent case in Florida involved a 12-year-old girl who leapt to her death from an abandoned concrete factory silo after constant harassment by two of her peers.

No Escape

What made Rebecca Ann Sedwick’s case even more heartbreaking is that the bullying which finally caused her to commit suicide had been going on for more than a year. And even after her parents moved her to another school, her tormentors were able to find her through her smartphone and continued the harassment, urging Rebecca Ann to “go kill yourself”.

cybertalking-suicideTo add an even more grievous dimension to the already tragic case, after Sedwick’s death, one of the girls involved in the bullying made a statement online expressing her lack of remorse while admitting to her role in the affair. This led to her arrest, and now the 14-year-old faces charges of aggravated stalking.

Just One Example

This case is only one of hundreds of these types of incidents that have occurred in recent years. It seems that barely  week goes by without hearing of another tragedy caused by teenage cyberbullies. It seems shocking and almost unimaginable, and though it doesn’t always lead to suicide, some form of it probably exists in every school in the world, and almost every child has been the victim of a bully at least once in their lives.

For many, it’s just a minor aspect of growing up but for some it’s an overwhelming problem. Children are often unable to bring themselves to talk about such issues with their parents, and even when they do, parents are often at a loss in knowing what to do to deal with the problem.

Strategies

Since children tend to hide these types of problems from their parents, the best way to protect your child may be to install some sort of mobile monitoring software onto their smartphones or tablets. Companies such as  packages that allow parents to monitor the chats, texts, SMS messages and emails sent and received on a targeted phone. These capabilities provide parents with a monitoring tool that can help protect their children from bullies and stalkers.

This may seem like a fairly extreme measure to some parents, but with all the potential dangers facing kids online these days, it may be the only way to gain a clear picture of what is happening in your child’s world - especially if you have reason to believe that that they are being victimized. In some cases, this technology can actually save lives.

Last modified on Wednesday, 22 April 2015 08:01