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Cyberbullied girl was sending hate messages to herself before suicide

The TLDR version:

A 14 year old girl in the UK committed suicide, seemingly as a result of constant abusive messages sent to her anonymously over (similar to formspring or CM Answers or Yahoo Answers, except everything can be anonymous).  In the aftermath, her father demanded the website reveal the names of all the people involved to the authorities.  They did so reluctantly, because it turns out 98% of the hate messages she received were sent from her own computer.  Only 4 other individual machines sent anything else, and they sent just a few compared to the total number received.

One more reminder that no matter how mature, intelligent or net savvy you think your kids are, you should ALWAYS be monitoring their net and phone usage. Her parents must be in Hell right now, even more so having learned that what they thought was the reason for her suicide, very likely was not, though it seems it may be a sign of her trying to deal with some very dark emotions that stem from somewhere.

It also brings to mind for me the different internet frauds I've encountered over time.  Not the simple Am I Pregnate trolls we get here, but ones who invest serious time into online communities, building up an elaborate backstory, usually filled with misery, abuse, illness or all three.  In the end they will "die", having some "trusted friend" pop up on the site to tell everyone, or they'll get caught out in one lie too many.  The obvious reason is a need for attention, positive or negative, but bonus if it's positive, all these loving strangers embracing them and telling them how special and important they are.

Hannah Smith seems to have gone the opposite route, wanting to hear how horrible and worthless she was, for reasons nobody may ever know.

Why do people make it so easy for others to manipulate and use them online?  That article includes info on one of the 4 people who did join in sending the messages, and he is now wracked with guilt, a stupid teenager who willingly went along with a virtual crowd, having no idea what the outcome would be (though in this day and age, he should have).  Are we doing our children a disservice by allowing them to be so trusting online, and by doing the same ourselves?

Answer Question

Asked by NotPanicking at 10:27 AM on Aug. 13, 2013 in Politics & Current Events

Level 51 (421,174 Credits)
Answers (17)
  • People, whether children or adults, are lacking validation at home. So they go to the internet and look for it.
    Whether the stories they tell are fabricated, no one can verify.
    It's easy to tell tales on line because you're speaking to a group of individuals who don't know you or your life.
    It's human nature to want to defend those that weave a sad tale.
    Children and some adults, that lack enough common sense to not air their dirty laundry should not be on the internet.

    Answer by PMSMom10 at 10:57 AM on Aug. 13, 2013

  • People, whether children or adults, are lacking validation at home. So they go to the internet and look for it.

    The sad part is that only makes it worse. If this girl had just opened up to a real life friend, maybe this would have been avoided.

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 11:01 AM on Aug. 13, 2013

  • Very sad, how terrible that she felt so bad about her self she hate mailed herself! Her parents must be completely devastated, I would have never even thought of "self bullying" as a possibility in anyones life.

    Makes you wonder if any of the multiple account holders here log in and out to be mean to themselves to gain sympathy. I KNOW that is not what this post is about, but it crossed my mind when reading it.

    Answer by luvmygrandgirl at 11:05 AM on Aug. 13, 2013

  • I agree NP, but speaking for myself, growing up in an abusive home, there would have been no way in hell I would trust anyone! For
    fear that my parents found out.

    Answer by PMSMom10 at 11:08 AM on Aug. 13, 2013

  • I KNOW that is not what this post is about, but it crossed my mind when reading it.

    In the case of the one that impacted me the most, the person in question did it after she "died". It was a chat room, not a message board, so she couldn't really be logged in to multiple accts at one time. After she faked her death, she invented her "sister" to tell us the news. Cheesy as it sounds now, we actually had an online, real-time memorial service for her, as well as setting up a room specifically for people to leave remembrances. Her "sister" logged in to attend the service and visit that room. It later came out she also made other accts to come in and vandalize the memorial room (it was graphical chat, so people could leave pictures of flowers and things in the room, she'd delete them), or start trash talking people for getting so worked up. Of course, everyone would jump in and shout her down, and she's bask in the defending.

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 11:09 AM on Aug. 13, 2013

  • WOW, that is sad and sick.

    Answer by luvmygrandgirl at 11:16 AM on Aug. 13, 2013

    • Makes you wonder if any of the multiple account holders here log in and out to be mean to themselves to gain sympathy. I KNOW that is not what this post is about, but it crossed my mind when reading it.

      Oh they do, or at least they did. There was one member who pretended to be at least 3 different people on this site to create a whole back story.(Sincalir,Lauren, etc. long term members know)  I'm sure she was not the only one, she just got caught. We've seen it happen where people make alternate accounts to "support" themselves. No doubt there are also those that make them to do the opposite. 


    Answer by KristiS11384 at 11:17 AM on Aug. 13, 2013

  • Obviously, people who would do this sort of thing have some very serious issues. I'm betting she didn't have real life friends to talk to. I mean my son has gone through periods of time where he basically had no friends at all so I don't think it's that hard to imagine or believe.
    The thing is, now we have internet so these people can do these types of things, where in the wasn't even an issue.

    I think everyone should take things they read with a grain of salt... BUT at the same time, still offer help in some way if someone seems to need it- EVEN if it turns out they are faking it, because how would you feel if you just assumed it was fake and did nothing and it turned out to be true.

    This story is truly sad. For everyone involved


    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 11:18 AM on Aug. 13, 2013

  • The internet has opened huge, new vistas of knowledge and fun but it has also provided a fairly anonymous venue for people that are unstable. When you have an unstable adult you can see what havoc can be wreaked. To have an unstable child in the mix is a recipe for disaster, as this article confirms. The validation component seems to be the most common thread in these cases. And if you're looking to the internet for validation that speaks to the real problem for so many people

    That said, it's not a new medium. Parents need to be so aware of what is going on with their kids online. Monitoring should be consistent and fairly stringent.

    I've seen a lot of people burned on a lot of sites because, like it or not, friendships made electronically can be every bit as powerful as real life friendships. It's no less painful to be misled and taken advantage of online than it is IRL.

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 11:22 AM on Aug. 13, 2013

  • WOW, that is sad and sick.

    Her backstory was heartbreaking - deaf, and dependent on a cheating abusive husband who had infected her with HIV. Any suggestion someone made to help her get out was shot down, that she needed his insurance to pay for her AIDS cocktail (because, of course, it had transitioned to full blown AIDS in her, while the cheating, abusive husband was still only HIV positive). She frequently ended conversations that were steering out of her control by saying her husband was home and she had to log off so he wouldn't catch her online without permission.

    The only reason she was caught is a lot of people sent donations to the site admin, and the admin used her reg info to call the number listed to find out where to send it. She answered the phone, refused to talk, and her non-abusive, non-cheating, non-HIV+, not married to a deaf woman husband took the phone and learned about his dead wife.

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 11:22 AM on Aug. 13, 2013

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