Carrol Todd is Amanda Todd’s’ mother, the teen from Canada who made a YouTube video about the harassment that eventually led to her taking her own life in October 2012.
Amanda Todd’s mother, Carol Todd, doesn’t want other children to suffer as her daughter did — stalked and harassed by bullies in cyberspace and in the schoolyard, by people she knew and by stalkers many miles away.
Amanda told her story in the heart-wrenching video that chronicled her nightmare: the taunts, the beating, the cyber-stalker who tracked her down whenever she tried to start afresh at a new school — firing off images that captured her showing off her young body, flattered by online attention from someone she thought was a kid just like her.
Amanda killed herself one month shy of her 16th birthday and one month after telling the world through a YouTube video of bullying that left her depressed and despairing. Carol shared her daughters story with all the staff and students in Coláiste na Trócaire on May 8th. It is a story no mother wants to tell.
“Amanda was a very caring individual. She would help others who needed help,” Carol told us that “One of Amanda’s goals were to get her message out there and have it used as a learning tool for others.”
As a teacher in the Coquitlam school district and a specialist in assistive technologies, Carol is comfortable around computers and knows well the dangers the online world can hold. Still, she wasn’t able to protect her child.
“I have lost one child, but know she wanted her story to save 1,000 more.”
Amanda was 12 years old when she made a mistake that would haunt her until her death three years later. Her ordeal started while she was fooling around online with friends. She probably didn’t think it was risky behaviour when she lifted her top to flash the person who was flattering her at the other end of the webcam. Amanda’s moment of indiscretion was not unusual for someone her age: Sexting and using webcams to share sexual photos is a growing trend among children, some so young they are still in primary school.
“The Internet stalker she flashed kept stalking her,” said Carol. “Every time she moved schools he would go undercover and become a Facebook friend. What the guy did was he went online to the kids who went to (the new school) and said that he was going to be a new student — that he was starting school the following week and that he wanted some friends and could they friend him on Facebook.”
“He eventually gathered people’s names and sent Amanda’s video to her new school.” The video and photos went to teachers, to parents, to Facebook friends, which lead to repeated taunts: “Oh, there’s the porn star.”
“It increased her anxiety and she couldn’t go to class,” Carol said. In putting together her video, which Amanda did on her own, Carol said her daughter wanted to help other young people who are being bullied and to bring attention and education to the problem in the hope of seeing it eradicated. Everyone in Coláiste na Trócaire was truly touched by Carrol Todd’s story. She has set up an Amanda Todd Legacy in her memory. In school it is of utmost important to educate students on how to become cyber safe. Parents also have the responsibility to educate themselves on all the social media sites and know the dangers their kids face on their mobile phone devices and their laptops. One mistake can lead to a lifetime of anxiety, stress and depression.