Teen is tormented by Facebook bullies

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Digital Image

“What the hell has gone wrong in this society that this type of filth is being spread across the pages of the internet to our homes and phones, to degrade, bully and mock our children?”

These are the words of a distraught Banbridge parent who, having spent the last six months rebuilding the lives of her family after her daughter was viciously targeted by internet bullies, was horrified to discover that her child has again been degraded on a page operating under the same name as the one that was previously shut down.

The Facebook page was taken down last year after the Leader highlighted the distressing incident, and now the mother is reiterating her message that more must be done to stop this happening.

“Do we have to wait, God forbid, for a child’s suicide before something in the law is changed? Why is this happening and what can we do about it?” she said.

“This first happened last year and we have all got on with our lives, as we have too. There were tears, fears and arguments that continued in the aftermath. We’ve lived on a knife edge hoping never to have to deal with that again, and then finding and reading about suicides of other children in similar circumstances makes me think why is this happening?

“Well these long months of silent dread have just presented us and our community with another even more disturbing explosion of even more sexually explicit toxic filth and libelous, dangerous, slander. This time some of it was even worse and once again one of the many dozens of children mentioned and torn to shreds, was my thirteen year old daughter.

“Many of the remarks were so grossly offensive and sexually graphic they make you feel dirty and violated.

“Meanwhile I’m left with an extremely depressed child, who is becoming afraid of her peers and likely now to do anything that pleases them in order to ‘fit in’ so as not to be targeted again. Her grandparents are too old to even begin to understand the dynamics of what happened, but watching my father cry is heartbreaking. I fear for how much my daughter can take if this continues.”

“Luckily this time I managed to screen shot a lot of what was published before it was taken down and was able to identify names of friends of the page and those who had liked/tagged or commented on this degrading filth, as in my opinion they also hold a degree of responsibility for the victims in that they are supporting this behaviour and fuelling the fire from which it started.”

Frustrated at the difficulty of finding a ‘human representative’ from the social media site to speak to, she continued: “it’s only really possible to make a report by ticking a box in a multiple choice questionnaire something a kin to a love quiz in a woman’s magazine. It’s ridiculous and totally irresponsible of these companies and it’s as if they are above all laws.”

Calling for the community to work together as a whole to address the issue, the mother said: “something has to change. Schools, police, MLAs, MPs, parents, non-parents, social services, internet companies, broadband suppliers, the media - everyone needs to address this rapidly-growing, poisonous problem before it becomes totally out of control. I don’t know where we should start but I think public discussion and community meetings with representatives from all groups together is fundamental to beginning the quest for change”.

Further calling for the support of our MPs and MLAs she said: “not only are we supposedly fighting a war on terror, but we should also be fighting a war on those who oppose the core decency and morals of our society, and the safety of our children.

“Our apparent helplessness and incapability to do anything about it, makes me question are we living under a social media dictatorship, and is this a new war we must fight?”