Learning from Amanda’s tragedy
A desperate teen girl cyber-bullied into suicide. Make sure it doesn't happen to you.
I have nobody. I need someone.
A month after posting those words online 15-year-old Canadian teenager Amanda Todd took her own life, pushed to the limit by three years of cyber-bullying that spiralled into anxiety, depression and addictions.
Amanda made a youtube video, which told of a mistake she made while using webcams with her friends when she was 12. A man she met online was complimenting her looks and asked her to flash, so she did.
The screenshot of her posing topless circulated on social media sites, leading to fights at school, a struggle with drugs and alcohol and relentless online bullying.
She changed cities and schools, but the trouble followed her.
"The internet stalker she flashed kept stalking her," said Amanda's mother.
4 things you need to remember
This story about Amanda is a terribly sad one. It can be so hard to navigate your way through this world as a teenager. There are massive pressures to fit in and please others. However, there are 4 things that would be good for you to remember as you travel the teen years;
- God loves you. So simple, yet so profound.
- Forgiveness is available because Jesus died for you. You are going to make mistakes in your teenage years (and beyond). However, the blood of Jesus is powerful to save and cleanse you of all your sins.
- You are never alone. If you believe in Jesus, you are never alone. He promises to be with you always, no matter what.
- Be careful what you post / do online. Once it’s online, it is there for a long time. Sexting is just another example of the “pornified” culture we live in. You need to keep coming back to God’s ideal for you and for sex.
You are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and as a Christian you are being remade into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). The Gospel tells us that, although we are sinful to the core, God loves us and values us to the max. Our true identity and worth as a person is all bound up in the person and work of Jesus. It is Jesus’ broken body, and not your “sexy” body, that gives you value. When the Creator of the Universe loves you, accepts you, values you, you don’t need to do 'whatever it takes' (e.g. sexting) to get other people to desire you.
You are worth everything to Jesus
As Christians, we need to trust God’s view of us and of our sexuality. We need to be so satisfied in Jesus that we are not seduced by the world of sexting. We need to seek godliness over sexiness, and holiness over hotness. We need to counteract toxic messages about sexuality with God’s original design for sex. We need to be modest in the amount of “flesh” we show to the world, on a phone or in public. We need to run for our lives (flee) from all forms of sexuality immorality (including sexting).
When it comes to your “value” as a person, trust the God who made you, and bled and died for you. You don’t need to chase after acceptance; you have been accepted.
When it comes to sexting, trust God, The Sexpert. God made up sex, He gave us the “bits” and he knows how it works best; which is not on the internet!
If you are in a similar situation to Amada, or are simply struggling or being bullied, don't suffer alone. Make sure you talk to someone about what you are going through before it's too late - a trusted friend, youth pastor, parent, teacher, or other adult.