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Teen Girls Asked 12-Year-Old Girl “Can u Die Please?” She Replied Yes

Teen Girls Asked 12-Year-Old Girl “Can u Die Please?” She Replied Yes

Twelve-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick climbed to the top of a platform at a disused concrete plant in Lakeland, Fla., and hurled herself to her death on September 9. No, this is not some weird imaginary horror story. This is real.

This funny, smart girl committed suicide because she couldn’t take the pain anymore. For nearly a year, as many as 15 middle-school girls ganged up on Rebecca, bombarding her with online messages asking things like: “Why don’t you go kill yourself” and “Can u Die Please?”

So she did.

She changed one of her online screen names to “That Dead Girl.” She messaged two friends: “I’m jumping.” Then the 12-year-old girl went to an abandoned concrete plant, climbed a tower and committed suicide by throwing herself to the ground.

Rebeccas Crime: Liking a Boy That Another Girl Liked

The Polk County sheriff’s office has seized computers and cellphones as it investigates the role of cyberbullying in this latest tragic suicide and is considering filing charges against the middle-school students who allegedly barraged Rebecca with terrifying messages. Rebecca was guilty of briefly dating a boy that one of the other girls liked.

I want to pause here for a moment to note that not all kids are online bullies. As a high school teacher, I work with teenagers every day and I have plenty of students who are kind, sensitive, young people who are outraged by cyberbullying.

But this case is tragic.

From The New York Times:

In jumping, Rebecca became one of the youngest members of a growing list of children and teenagers apparently driven to suicide, at least in part, after being maligned, threatened and taunted online, mostly through a new collection of texting and photo-sharing cellphone applications.

Her suicide raises new questions about the proliferation and popularity of these applications and Web sites among children and the ability of parents to keep up with their children’s online relationships.

Mean Girls Now Have Frightening Weapons at Their Disposal

Mean girls are not a new phenomenon, but it is frightening that these young women now have at their disposal an array of apps that allow users to post and send messages anonymously. Rebecca’s mother, Tricia Norman, singled out, Kik Messenger and Voxer as three sites the girls had used to send messages like “You’re ugly” and “Why are you still alive?”

It’s not as if she didn’t try to help her daughter.

Norman told the New York Times that she closed down Rebecca’s Facebook page and monitored the girl’s cellphone use. She changed the cellphone number and kept tabs on her social media footprint. Rebecca changed schools, and, for a while, her life seemed to have turned around. Then she began using the new apps, setting off a new round of cyberbullying.

How Prevalent Is Cyberbullying?

About 20 percent of young people have been victimized, according to the Cyberbullying Research Center, a clearinghouse of information on cyberbullying. About 15 percent of teens admit that they have bullied or ridiculed others on social media, photo-sharing and other websites, according to the Center.

“It’s now 24-7. It’s not just something you can escape after the school day,” Sameer Hinduja, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, told the Orlando Sentinel.

What do you think is going on here?

How Can We Help Put a Stop to it?

Florida passed a law this year making it easier to bring felony charges in online bullying cases.

Various public school districts have already declared their intentions to deal harshly with cyberbullying. Chicago Public Schools have made cyberbullying a crime, and recently the Glendale School District in California announced that it is doing a round-the-clock monitoring of its 13,000 students’ social media activities. As Techdirt reports, Geo Listening will collect information from students’ posts on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, in order to provide Glendale school officials with a daily report that categorizes posts by their frequency and how they relate to cyber-bullying, harm, hate, despair, substance abuse, vandalism and truancy.

Some parents are up in arms about this new policy, but the reality is that parents cannot possibly know everything their children are doing, unless the kids choose to tell them.

What do you think? How can we put a stop to these senseless tragedies? Should schools monitor students’ social media activities? Should parents try to be more vigilant?


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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

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6:26PM PST on Feb 21, 2014

I am a depressed teen and i relate with these girls and boys who deal with this sh*t. I have been told by quite a few people to kill myself for having Aspergers syndrome (autism) being part of fandoms, and for being gay.
This is something the NSA should be monitoring.

12:32AM PST on Feb 7, 2014

this is so awful...

9:48AM PDT on Oct 10, 2013

I hope these stupid little bitches feel horrendous guilt the rest of their lives. Of course, they're probably too ignorant and apathetic at this point. When I read this stuff, it makes me desperately wish I was still in high school....i'd straighten them out real quick. My heart goes out to the little girl's family, I am truly sorry for your loss. No child should have to endure any type of abuse, including cyber bullying. And we all know, as adults, these stupid little cows only act in gangs, never one on one, because they're total COWARDS. I wish we could get that message out to these children who are being bullied.

12:55AM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

A fair number of people on this thread have said the way to stop bullies is to punch them. I believe that this assertion can be true when a boy has to deal with other boys who are bullying him physically. However, some questions:
What if you don't know who the bullies are?
What if you're female and have been socialized not to hit people?

The only thing that seems to be true is that ignoring bullies does not make them go away. .

4:02AM PDT on Oct 1, 2013

Parents shouldn't "try" to be more vigilant, they should BE more vigilant. And so should teachers and other school authorities. This Mom did pay attention, but did she get together with School administrators and teachers? This doesn't say. And it therefore doesn't say if they took any action. She changed schools and phone numbers etc., but it still didn't work. Parents of Bullying children should be educated. Should be pulled into the conversation. Parents are teachers, too, and to be remiss in teaching children well is to be remiss as parents. It takes a village to rise a child, and bullying parents are part of that village. They are as responsible as the kids doing the bullying.

5:00AM PDT on Sep 30, 2013

The problem is how the bullys are dealt with. I tried to report this kind of bullying, of my granddaughter, to the police but they are very cavalier about this kind of crime and the bullies are still out there doing their thing. Bullying today is a major problem. After all, bullying is what countries do to each other as do various groups, religious and otherwise, forcing people to conform. Forcing others to be what they do not wish to be and to carry out acts which are harmful or, in this case, self-destructive, MUST be dealt with severely and the perpetrators named and shamed and prevented from taking part in this kind of crime. This must involve ALL the people.

4:29AM PDT on Sep 30, 2013

ridiculous situation that this goes on. where are the parents in this?

4:22PM PDT on Sep 29, 2013

that poor girl! very sad

8:14PM PDT on Sep 28, 2013

Theresa R. I agree with you, unfortunately should they be brought to face justice, their parents will lawyer up and blame the victim. Our 21st Century crop are heartless and quiet frankly out off control to the point parents hands are often tight with threat like, "you slap me I'll call the police" and the police will arrest you and ask question later Surely you have seen it on TV, where out off control kids (girls) specially scream at their parents to get out off their room. Do I need to say anymore?

1:49PM PDT on Sep 28, 2013

How very very sad. That poor girl the persons who bullied her should be named and shamed. They should also get charged with manslaughter.

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