Anti-bullying group got tip about teen before suicide

Amanda Todd, 15, of Coquitlam, B.C., killed herself Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, after posting a...

Amanda Todd, 15, of Coquitlam, B.C., killed herself Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, after posting a heartbreaking video on YouTube that told her story of being bullied by her classmates. (Screengrab)

Joyanne Pursaga, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:58 PM ET

WINNIPEG — A Canadian anti-cyberbullying group that once received a tip about the online exploitation of Amanda Todd, the Port Coquitlam, B.C., teen who killed herself last Wednesday, says the torment she faced is on the rise.

Signy Arnason, director of Cybertip.ca, a national agency that gathers tips on the online sexual exploitation of children, said the tip was one of about 10,000 received last year. In 2012, the Winnipeg-based group has already received another 13,500 tips.

"We're seeing more and more information posted on what would be referred to as 'jailbait' sites," said Arnason, noting many pictures are stolen from kids' Facebook accounts.

"The commentary that goes on with those images can be absolutely devastating."

At the age of 12, Todd was lured to expose her breasts on a webcam. A year later, a man threatened in a Facebook message to expose the picture if she didn't give him a show.

In Amanda's case, Cybertip forwarded a tip on images of the girl to the appropriate child exploitation unit.

But after repeated bullying, including physical assaults, 15-year-old Todd killed herself last week, about a month after posting an online video that documented the bullying she endured.

Arnason said the impact of bullying is heightened because modern kids' mistakes are so often recorded permanently online.

"You've got a combo of kids doing something very normal, which is exploring their sexuality, but then when you combine it with the Internet, it's explosive," she said.

One group of online users is attempting to rid Todd's online presence of "hate pages" and offensive photos and do the same for other bullied teens.

The Amanda Todd Reporting Team, a Facebook group, asks users to post links to offensive photos and pages, so members can report them repeatedly for removal.

"So far, we have had great results in the removal of photos and fan pages all over Facebook targetting certain individuals," said Nate Noerper, the site's organizer. "Over 1,000 photos have been deleted and 20 pages."

Noerper, who lives in Illinois, said he was drawn to speak up for Todd due to his own experience with cyberbullying. Bullies once set up a fake Twitter account in his name just to mock him, he said.

As of Tuesday, more than 800 people had liked the group's page.

To check out the group, visit: http://www.facebook.com/UsersReportAbusers.

joyanne.pursaga@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @pursagawpgsun


Videos

Photos