What can we individually do after the case of Canadian teen Amanda Todd, who committed suicide after cyber bullying drove her to produce a video detailing her cruel experiences? Join the "Nice it Forward" campaign, in her memory.
The Christian Science Monitor/Joanne Ciccarello
Police, parents and school officials have cited Ms. Todd’s case in saying they need to increase efforts – and possibly laws – against this sort of harassment, in which perpetrators target victims through cell phone text messaging, on Facebook, or in other neighborhoods of the virtual world. Meanwhile, social networking sites have hosted tens of thousands of comments decrying what many see as this overwhelming, negative phenomenon in the lives of today’s teenagers; the nasty comments on memorial pages set up for Todd seem to only reinforce the sense that cyberbullies are omnipresent.
It’s hard not to join in with the anger; to feel like there’s just something terribly wrong with society, teens and the Internet today.
But even in the face of horrible stories like this one, it’s important to step back.
While many studies have shown that a large number of teens experience cyberbullying, which the Pew Internet & American Life Project describes as online harassment that is repeated over time and involves a power imbalance between a perpetrator and a victim, most do not.