Amanda Todd's mom advises parents to get internet savvy
The mother of B.C. cyberbullying victim Amanda Todd says parents must make themselves aware of the type of trouble their children can get into on the internet.
"We have to teach parents on what's out there and what their kids may possibly be doing, so they can be aware of it," Carol Todd told CBC News host Gloria Macarenko on Wednesday during an exclusive interview at her home in Port Coquitlam, B.C.
"The best place you can talk to your kid is in your car. They have no place to go, and you're driving them, so make up excuses to drive your child ... because they are a captive audience at that time."
Todd's 15-year-old daughter committed suicide in early October. She was the victim of cyberstalking and cyberbullying for two years, and fell into a depression.
"Have open discussions. Don't overreact with them when they share things with you," Carol Todd said when asked what advice she would give to parents.
"Listen with an open mind, because you will get a lot more information from your child. If you get angry, then go somewhere else [away from the child] and be angry. But at the time, try and stay calm, and try and help your child figure out the next step."
Amanda Todd made a video she posted to YouTube that poignantly tells the story of how she was stalked and bullied, and felt completely alone. The video gained worldwide recognition after her suicide and has had more than six million hits.
Carol Todd said Amanda was not alone, and received a great deal of help and support, but suffered a growing anxiety that ultimately left her inconsolable.
Mom wanted Amanda to get a fresh start
Todd said she and Amanda's father forced Amanda to cut herself off from social media for six months in the hope she could get a fresh start, but it didn't work.
"But it followed her. That’s what the internet does — it follows you. ... is there ever a fresh start when there’s Facebook? I don’t know if there ever is," Carol Todd said.
"Amanda was always that out-there kind of kid and she wanted to gather friends. So kids gather 500 friends on their Facebook and really in real life they only have 20 good friends, so the other 480, who are they really? One of the 480 was the cyberstalker."
The stalker had persuaded Amanda to take revealing photos of herself and then later demanded she do it again, but she refused and he posted them on the internet, leading to taunting and bullying from other children at school.
Police are still investigating a case of possible criminal harassment, but have made no arrests so far.
With files from the CBC's Gloria Macarenko