‘I will not lose my daughter because of online bullying’

A mother has urged parents to be aware of what their teenagers post online after cyberbullying drove her daughter to attempt suicide twice.

‘I will not lose my daughter because of online bullying’

A mum from Limerick said her 17-year-old daughter is in a much better place now following an outpouring of support after she went public about her year-long ordeal.

She told The Opinion Line on Cork’s 96fm yesterday that she had to speak out publicly in the hope that teenagers will think twice before they post, and that their parents will pay more attention to how their teenagers use social media.

“Noone will understand fear until you wake up to your teen screaming from an inability to cope with online bullying coming in through their phone into what should be the safety of their own home,” she said.

“I will not lose my child because of online bullying. I will fight it.”

In a post on Facebook on Monday, the woman said the bullying started when a video was shared online in an alleged act of revenge by a person who named her daughter as the person in the video. It was not her.

“My daughter was getting upwards of 50 messages a day from kids from all different schools around Limerick telling her to kill herself, calling her slut, whore, disgusting, and she attempted suicide to get away from the constant torment and abuse,” said the mother.

Her daughter was hospitalised and recovered, but the abuse continued both online and on the streets.

“She was being called whore and barked at in the street by complete strangers and it was even done in front of me when she was representing the school in UL for athletics by a kid from another school. Kids can be so cruel and nasty.”

She said her daughter tried to take her life again and had a breakdown, refused to go back to the school, and wouldn’t get out of bed for weeks.

But she improved and everything seemed to have blown over until the video was posted on Snapchat at the weekend by the same person who posted the video originally.

Her daughter was again inundated with messages telling her to kill herself and calling her names. They have now deleted the app from the teenager’s device and have contacted gardaí.

The mother said she believes those behind the bullying don’t understand the damage they’re doing from behind a screen. “Maybe if this post is shared and awareness is created of the effects it has on the victim of online bullying, it will stop for her and others.”

If you have been affected by this issues raised in this article, help and support is available from the Samaritans on freephone 116123, or email jo@samaritans.org or Freecall Pieta House at 1800 247 247.

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