Ciara Pugsley, 15, Succumbs to Cyberbullying
This is playing out like a bad rerun. Another teen, everything going for her, well loved by everyone who knew her…with the exception of the person or people who chose, instead, bully her online until she couldn’t handle it anymore.Ciara Pugsley, just 15-years-old, ended her life Wednesday, September 19th. What’s apparent is that Ciara had experienced “extreme bullying” on the website Ask.fm, which is an anonymous site where people can post whatever they want with no impunity.
Ask.fm did not respond to … requests for statement in the days following the death of 15 year old Ciara Pugsley, who experienced extreme bullying through the anonymous site in the months before her suicide.
Ask.fm’s co-founder, Mark Terebin did, however, offer a statement, which comes off as more of an excuse as to why his site isn’t responsible for what happened:
“Of course there is a problem with cyber-bullying in social media. But, as far as we can see, we only have this situation in Ireland and the UK most of all, trust me. There are no complaints regarding cyberbullying from parents, children, or other sources in other countries. It seems like children are crueller (sic) in these countries (Ireland and UK).”
Don’t tell that to the parents of kids in the U.S. or Canada or Australia who have lost their children to suicide largely due to being cyberbullied. Once again, there is a lack of accountability and responsibility. No one wants to be held accountable; no one wants to be held responsible when these young people end their own lives. Yet, as we’re seeing instances of teen suicide due to cyberbullying increase, there absolutely must be accountability. If you’re going to have a site where everyone posts anonymously, there must be safeguards in place to protect vulnerable and innocent users: the children who use it. That’s the responsibility of the site owner. Conversely, parents must have their own safeguards that they can put in place to ensure their child’s safety online. See, there’s a breakdown all the way across the board. Meanwhile, young people are ending their lives daily, and some of it is due to, at least in part, cyberbullying.
And, make no mistake: cyberbullying today is intense. We just witnessed how severe it can be with the Amanda Todd story. These young people can be relentless and unremorseful. In fact, they’re still taunting Amanda, even in death. What that tells me is that there is a total collapse, at least in this case, of any semblance of parental guidance. No accountability; no responsibility.
By all accounts, Ciara was a very happy girl who loved life. She didn’t want to die. Once again, it was a case where she felt no other way out except for to end her life. A fellow blogger had this to say:
As a community we have to pull together for the benefit of our next generation. We owe it to the memory of Ciara Pugsley and to our own beloved children. We simply cannot skirt the issues of cyber-bullying and teenage suicide. The stakes are too high.
That’s exactly the point: The stakes are too high. Too many lives are being lost needlessly. Accountability. Responsibility. Both are needed before we can even begin to think about making a dent in the bullying/cyberbullying/teen suicide epidemic. The first step, though, is acknowledging that there’s an epidemic in the first place. Even that obvious point is being glossed over.
Rest in peace, Ciara.
Written by Ron Kemp
October 15, 2012 at 3:22 am
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