The Dark Side Of The Internet: The Amanda Todd Story | True Crime

(Amanda Todd. Picture credit: dailyhive.com

If you were online back in October of 2012 you would no doubt have heard or read the name 'Amanda Todd' everywhere. You may have seen the silent black and white video of a young girl holding up note cards which spelt out her personal struggle and trauma at the hands of online bullies but Amanda's story was not just about online bullying by immature people, it was even darker than that. 

This pretty 15 year old girl had been going through hell for a long time and things were starting to come to a head. 

Before I continue on with this post I just want to mention that some of the details shared are quite distressing so please keep that in mind. I will be talking about suicide and self harm. 

This case is one that has stayed with me since it happened. I find it heartbreaking and a huge feeling of unfairness because of how this young girl was treated. 

In 2012 I would see a lot of horrendous things online about Amanda and these past days when I've been doing my research, I've stumbled across hundreds of disgusting memes and defaced pictures of Amanda and it makes me angry, it's disgusting that years after her death, there's sick people out there who are still disrespecting this poor child, at the end of the day she was just a child who made a few mistakes like a lot of teenagers and adults do.

I'm going to try and tell some of Amanda's story to you, there's a lot of informative articles online about the case and I highly recommend the Fifth Estate's episode on youtube: Stalking Amanda Todd 

I had this case on my list but I wasn't sure if I should cover it as I know there is quite a lot of information out there but I've been told by some of my readers that they would still like me to cover it. I do think it's important for me to talk about this on here because it keeps Amanda's story fresh in people's minds. 

When I see pictures of Amanda or see her videos, it makes me feel very overprotective of her. You can see that she is just a naive young girl and to think of all that she went through, it's devastating.

Amanda Michelle Todd was born on the 27th of November 1996 and she was the apple of her parents eye. She was a huge fan of Justin Bieber and always loved to sing. Her passion for singing was so strong that she would upload videos of her doing covers of her favourite songs. 

At first the clips of her singing were recorded on her phone but she soon begged her parents for a web cam. Her mother was against it but her Dad agreed and when talking about it later he explained that he had regular access to Amanda's computer so he could see what she was up to online and felt that it was perfectly safe for her to have a web cam.

Like a lot of teenage girls, Amanda had a lot of insecurities and was trying to find her way in the world. She wanted to be friends with everybody but that didn't always happen, because of her beautiful looks and slim figure, some of the other girls at school would be jealous and there would often be a lot of conflict over boys.

Amanda had some close friends but she still felt like an outsider but when she went online at night, she found that a lot of people were taking an interest in her singing and this made her feel good. The attention gave her a confidence boost. She joined a social media platform called 'Blog TV' (which is now called YouNow) which was a live platform for people to showcase their music or chat to people all over the world. 

Amanda would get compliments on her singing and that quickly moved onto her looks. She loved knowing that hundreds of people were watching her, it gave her a confidence boost but also became addictive. When she had trouble at school she could just come home and go on her laptop and there would be people on there who would tell her how beautiful and pretty she was.

As time went on the compliments soon turned to demands from some of these people who were watching her, they wanted to see her dance and began asking her to strip for them. Amanda was clearly uncomfortable with this but she was scared that all of the compliments and attention would stop. She didn't see any harm in doing a bit of dancing.

It got to the point where the dancing wasn't enough, these people wanted more and after badgering her about it, she gave in and lifted her top up for few quick seconds. I have seen this picture which was all over social media back in 2012 and you can clearly see it was a spare of the moment thing and she looks very uncomfortable, it's disturbing. 

I try to imagine what she was thinking and I get the feeling that she thought if she did that, the constant demands would stop. As a 15 year old girl, I can imagine having grown men harass you in such a manner as being very difficult especially as these men were quite manipulative. 

You could look back and say that she should have just blocked them and moved on but she was young and naive. She went from feeling like an outsider at school to suddenly having all this attention online and I can imagine she was worried the attention would stop.

There's a lot of lies and rumours about Amanda out there, you may have seen people say that she did this a few times, that she masturbated on camera. For arguments sake, even if Amanda had done these things that these people have said (which I don't believe to be true, she may have had a fight over a boy with a girl but I don't believe that she performed all sorts of acts on camera because the cyberbullies would have had a field day with that footage like they have done with that one picture of her lifting her top up) she still didn't deserve everything she was put through.

Those few seconds of her lifting her top up on camera were captured by a sick perverted individual who would then go on to make Amanda's life hell. Apparently there's a group of people online called 'Cappers' and what these people do is they find a young girl (or woman) and harass her for nude pictures, once the girl exposes herself they take screenshots and use them to either harass the girl for more pictures or for money.

This unidentified man by the name of 'Tyler Boo' began to harass Amanda with the picture and told her that if she didn't do some intimate shows for him, he would send her picture everywhere online.

These group of Cappers are a network and they talk to each other on forums about girls they are trying to extort. They swap pictures and Amanda even featured on one of there 'Daily Capper' episodes where they would share news of new girls to look out for.

After lifting her top up for those few seconds, Amanda carried on as usual and didn't think anymore of it until she was woken by the police at 4am when they informed her that her topless picture had gone viral. 

Amanda was hysterical and in a panic and didn't know what to do. She was paranoid about who had seen the picture and became scared to go out. It was at this time that she began experiencing panic attacks, lack of sleep, depression and was put on anti-depressants from her Doctor. 

She was hoping the whole episode would fade away, she changed schools after her classmates found out about what happened and she suffered bullying. She tried to move on with her life but this guy 'Tyler Boo' popped up on Facebook a year later and began harassing her again. 

He set up a Facebook page using Amanda's topless picture as his profile and began sending the picture to everyone in Amanda's followers list. Everyone at her new school found out and she was forced to change schools again. 

It was around this time that Amanda had started talking to a boy that she used to be friends with and the pair arranged to meet up at his house whilst his girlfriend was away on holiday. Whilst visiting this boy, one thing led to another and Amanda found herself in the middle of another negative situation. A week later, the boy's girlfriend found out about what had happened and gathered a gang of her friends who then confronted and threatened Amanda at her school. Amanda was punched and had to call her Dad to come and pick her up.

Following this incident the boy's girlfriend and her friends proceeded to put negative comments online about Amanda and a bullying campaign began. Amanda was so upset that she couldn't take it anymore and tried to take her own life by drinking bleach.

Luckily she was rushed to hospital and had her stomach pumped but the nightmare didn't end there. Instead of there being some sympathy towards Amanda for the difficulties she was going through, the bullies became even worse, they took her pictures and photoshopped bottles of bleach onto them and wrote captions telling her to die.

It was a horrendous time in this young girl's life and her parents were at a loss of what to do. The decision was made for Amanda to be moved to another city but again, the nightmare continued. 

Amanda's mother said later ''Everytime she would move schools he would go undercover and become a Facebook friend. What the guy did was he went online to the kids who went to the new school and said that he was going to be a new student - that he was starting the school the following week and that he wanted some friends and could they friend him on Facebook. He eventually gathered people's names and sent Amanda's video to her new school, including students, teachers and parents''

So again, everyone at the new city and her new school found out and the online and offline bullying was continuing even after six months and Amanda's mental health was declining further and further. She was struggling to deal with it all and felt like there was no escape, she was already on anti-depressants but they could only do so much. She began to self harm and ended up in hospital after another attempt at taking her own life. She was also regularly self harming.

When she returned to school the bullying continued with her classmates mocking her for being a ''psycho'' and laughing about her being in a psychiatric hospital. Her mother later said ''She went to the hospital, she had therapy, she had counselling, she was on a good track. On the day she gets out, that happens. I shake my head and I think, are kids really that nasty? Do they really not think, what if it was them?''

Amanda told her mother she was working on a secret project and took all of her white note cards and black markers. She wouldn't tell her mother what it was for but Amanda was planning to make a video to upload online. After it went viral after her death, everyone mistook it for a farewell video but Amanda's mother explained that the video was created as a way for Amanda to tell everyone online, the bullies at school, the person or persons who were stalking her what all of this was doing to her. 

(Amanda Todd's video

Despite her troubles, when Amanda came out of the hospital she was determined to fight through all of this and planned to get a tattoo with the words ''Stay Strong''. 

But on October the 10th 2012, everything became too much for Amanda and whilst her mother was out of the house, she took her own life by hanging herself in her bedroom. 

I couldn't find any details of a suicide note but I assume she had left one for her parents as her mother said that Amanda's last words to her were for her not to be mad at her, that she loved her mother and and she would always be her princess.

Amanda's father found out about his daughter's death over the phone and he said that his whole life had changed at that moment. During the interview that Amanda's parents had done for The Fifth Estate it's absolutely heartbreaking when they recall the details of Amanda's death. It's very harrowing to watch.

Amanda's father has 'Stay Strong' tattooed on his arm in tribute to his daughter and the tattoo ink is mixed with some of Amanda's ashes.

During the time that Amanda was being bullied online, she would go back and forth to the police station making complaints, trying to get something done but the police were useless and their attitude was that Amanda was responsible for her own safety online and should delete all of her social media accounts.

In one way you could say that Amanda should have done this and it's unclear why she carried on being online when all of this was happening, maybe it was her naivety, maybe she wanted to show an act of defiance against the bullies or maybe she just couldn't switch off from what people were saying about her. We will never know but what we do know is that all of this contributed to her death.

(Amanda's parents, Carol and Norm. Picture credit: mapleridgenews)

Amanda's parents believe that the police should have done more and taken Amanda's laptop off of her and done a thorough investigation into who this person or persons were who started all of this in the first place. Amanda's mother says that if she had one dying wish, it would be to know who did all of this to begin with.

On Sunday the 18th of November 2012, Amanda's family and friends held a 'Celebration Of Life' service for her. 

After Amanda's death, the police announced that they had 20 full time investigators assigned to the case. 

In January 2014, a dutch man was arrested after investigators found screenshots of underage children, child pornographic images, bookmarks of 5,800 accounts, personal details and other data connected to exploitation. He was using spyware on his computers. He was identified as a 35 year old man known as 'Aydin Coban' and was charged with indecent assault and child pornography. A short time later other charges were added on such as internet luring and extortion.

Amanda's mother felt positive that the police were now taking the investigation seriously and thanked them for their progress but she did feel that there was more than one person involved in the harassment and stalking of her daughter.

Aydin Corban denied the charges against him and in October of 2015 some of the charges against him were dropped. He did go to trial and had 72 charges against him for extortion and sexual assault of reportedly 39 male and female victims. 

Amanda was not one of the 39 victims listed in the trial but he does face 5 charges relating to her. He was sentenced to 10 years and 8 months and was to be extradited to Canada at some point.

After Amanda's death was reported in the media and her video went viral, there was a lot of sympathy but also a lot of horrible things that were reported and trolls had a field day. Even to this day there are still Amanda Todd memes which sick people seem to think is funny. 

Amanda's mother has continued to raise awareness of the dangers online and is an anti-bullying campaigner. Her family have set up a website Amanda Todd Legacy 

To view Amanda's video, click here 

Lay some flowers or pay tribute to Amanda on her online memorial 

Amanda Todd Legacy Facebook page 

Don't forget to check out The Fifth Estate episode featuring Amanda 

(Amanda Todd. Picture credit: vancouversun

To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die - Thomas Campbell 

RIP Amanda Todd

#StayStrong #StopBullying #Caring4Others 

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2 comments:

  1. You don't believe that Amanda was up to mischief.
    From the recent Michael Berenson case (the FBI don't lie):

    Page 14 of 47
    at least ten child exploitive and child pornography videos of Amanda on Berenson’s devices. Many of these videos were in a folder titled “Forever Amanda.” During portions of several of the videos, Amanda is not wearing pants or underwear and is displaying or touching her vagina.

    One video is entitled, “so much win.” The others are entitled with her name followed by a number. One video, entitled Amanda Todd 3.avi, depicts Amanda in her bedroom looking at what appears to be a computer screen. Amanda dances around, touches her vagina, and eventually disappears for a moment. When she reappears, she is not wearing pants or underwear and is in the back corner of the screen. The video is eight minutes long.
    A screenshot from the video as it was recovered from Berenson’s devices
    is depicted below:

    Among the child exploitive videos and images Berenson had was the file of her showing her chest, or what he called her “flashing,” that

    Case 5:17-cr-20521-JEL-APP ECF No. 35 filed 04/17/19 PageID.283 Page 14 of 47

    The report is readily available should you need verification.
    It explains why her friends reacted in the way they did. Do you really think that a boon flash would cause so much trouble?
    The vast majority of the Todd story is untrue or, to put it more correctly, a combination of lies and omission.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is why I hate internet culture. Great post Jo.

    ReplyDelete