I have a problem right now, it’s to do with something I saw on the internet, I was wondering if you could help explain. While reading through the timelines and constant updates from family, friends and strangers from various social networking sites I continually came across the same update and photo. It said ‘RIP Amanda Todd’ with her photo beside it; another victim of bullying who committed suicide.
My problem is, this was a worldwide top trend (twitter) and one of the most talked about thing on Facebook. Why? Why should it be? Amanda was a pretty girl, she made a mistake. According to what I have read she flashed her breasts on an online chat room of some sort and people published the photos around her school. The pupils called her various names and bullied her. This girl tried suicide a few times by drinking bleach but had no success. Those who found out told her to drink more bleach. Six days ago she was announced dead via suicide. This is a deeply upsetting story yes, but this let me explain my issue. People are ‘tweeting’ and ‘facebooking’ saying “Omg what a pretty girl why did she have to die?”, “I wouldn’t have bullied such a sweet young girl, why would anyone do such a horrible thing?” and so on. Yet nobody has stopped to think for one second about the message this is sending out.
Other teenagers and adults alike are depressed. Many considering self mutilation and suicide at this very moment, yet nobody is doing a single thing. If they go online they see this girl who committed suicide being praised for what she did. The attention she is being given in death is insane. Most people who are depressed only get negative attention and beg for someone to be kind to them. What they are seeing is that if you commit suicide your name will be known worldwide with many people giving you such kind comments. However, you won’t be there to see them. Your friends and family will, but of what comfort is a stranger 300,000 miles away?
Social networking sites are glamorising suicide. Most people would love for their name to be a worldwide thing, for thousands to know it in a good way. This appears to be a way to do that. Self mutilation is also circling many websites such as Instagram and Tumblr. All you have to do is type in ‘self harm’ to the search bars and you will be bombarded with photos of what people are doing to themselves. As an ex self harmer I know what photos you will find, and I beg you not to search them. When did self harm become such a common thing? When did people start uploading photos of their latest cuts and comparing them? Writing captions such as “I will cut deeper next time”. This is not normal behaviour. I’ve also seen comments on such images saying things like “Wow, thats so good, I wish I could cut myself like you do”. What is that about? When I self harmed I hid the cuts every day with make-up, bandages, long sleeves, bracelets... whatever I could find to hide them. As did many other self harmers. There is no way meeting up and discussing the latest ‘cutting techniques’. So when did this become the norm? It became the norm when social networking with strangers overtook conversations with family and friends. It became the norm when those strangers you talk to give you advice on how to cut deeper and how to kill yourself instead of going to a Doctor and listening to them. What is the world coming to? Depression is now more enviable than the latest platinum jewellery. People comparing what hospitals they have been in and for how long their stay was. People comparing what anti-depressant tablets they have been put on and of what dosage. People are even comparing the fastest and less painful ways to kill themselves. All this information is being discussed with strangers. Now it appears to be the way to become ‘famous’ on a social networking site.
A self harm blog on Tumblr will have thousands of followers, a photo of a razor blade dripping with blood will have hundreds of likes and suicide victims will become a worldwide trend. This is disgusting. Another thing I want to point out to anyone reading this. That kid that sits alone in the corner at lunchtime... he smells slightly and likes to talk about video games on his games console or PC... what if he gets bullied? Will you be the one to sit beside him and talk about recent game releases? No, of course you won’t, because that puts YOU in the firing line of bullies and nobody wants that do they? The 16 year old girl who has been bullied since she was 9 years old, she’s fat but makes her only friend laugh hysterically. This girl got spat on, pushed down stairs; cupboard doors smacked against her face and got called things you couldn’t even imagine. Would you tell the bullies to leave her alone? No, and don’t say you would because I can truthfully say you wouldn’t. How? Because I was that girl. In a school of over 600 people not a single person stood up for me.
People like you who allow people to be bullied and then when they hurt themselves or commit suicide and then comment saying that they shouldn’t do that, they were so pretty and smart... you absolutely disgust me. Why don’t you tell the victims of bullying that while they are still alive? Why don’t you make an effort to talk to them? You could save a life, but no... You’re far too afraid to be the next in line for the torment. So you watch. You watch their lives get torn apart; the psychological abuse will never leave that victim. The scars will never fully heal but you could have stopped it. Do you think a tweet calling them perfect after death helps in any way? Is that to make yourself feel better? You weren’t one of the bullies so why should you feel bad right? Wrong. You may not have been one of the bullies but Hell you may as well have been.
My final point, social networking sites need to stop glamorising self harm, depression and suicide right now. The victim numbers will increase if this continues. Even after death it is still your 15 minutes of fame that everyone craves. Why don’t we all trend the success stories? Those who got bullied shockingly and still survived. Show those going through the same Hell that survival is possible and many have done it. Show them that time carries on and the bullies will stop eventually. You will leave that school eventually and it will all end and you can say that you survived. Surely that is worth a lot more than killing yourself to become a worldwide trend that everyone will forget in two weeks?
My closing statement on this article is this: If you do not help the bullied, you are one of the bullies. Resort back to the old quote “If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem”. Remember that next time you send a tweet about a suicide victim.