OK. This is likely to be a long and very boring post that will be read by half a dozen people, but I feel the need to try and explain (for the umpteenth time) why it’s important to know the full Amanda Todd story.
I wouldn’t have bothered if I hadn’t been shocked by the recent University of Regina episode. For anyone not aware of what happened here’s the brief history.
A class at the University had been asked to give their opinions in blogs about the ‘Sextortion of Amanda Todd’ documentary from the 5th Estate. I commented on a couple of the blogs, stating that the RCMP had done what they could given the circumstances, and that Amanda had received a massive amount of attention from people close to her but was, to a certain extent, out of control.
Carol Todd traced the writers of the blogs and told them that I was supplying wrong information and that I was a troll. I was astonished that she would go to such great lengths to, yet again, close any debate.
As usual, this all resulted in hullabaloo with boringly repetitive accusations of victim-blaming, slut-shaming, and even Professor Alec Couros reporting me to the police because he fell for the ‘Philip Rose is the pedophile/stalker/murderer’ propaganda.
This woke me up from a rather slothful hiatus. To be honest, I had forgotten most of what was in my blog, and I had lost touch with all the reasons why I persisted, mainly because it had become like flogging a dead horse. Reading through it, I did have thoughts like ‘Did I really say that?’ or ‘Did I really put it that badly?’. The blog is too large and too cumbersome to be of any true value now which is a shame. All that work has become clouded because I didn’t really give it my all.
However, one of the most repeated things I read in comments directed against me is ‘Why?’. So here goes. This will probably be boring for regular readers, but at least next time I’m asked the question I can just link to this post.
Why Amanda Todd?
The Amanda Todd story is a true phenomenon. There won’t be another story like it. No other story has so many facets that need exploring. All other cases that bear any remote similarity have conclusions and explanations, usually resolved in inquests. All other stories have clear, definable narratives. But the Amanda Todd story contains so many variables that have remained unclarified that even four years later nobody has a definitive description of what really happened.
The Amanda Todd story could keep an entire team of psychologists working for years, and still not cover every aspect of what happened. It truly is, in my opinion, the key case to be used to investigate the entire range of problems that lead to the various 21st century hurdles which young kids have to face online and in real life.
What are the problems to be investigated?
Where do I begin?
In my research, many of the cases involving teens have an underlying parental problem. Not all, but a significant proportion. In this day and age, it’s almost inevitable that kids face the pitfalls of acrimonious divorces. Depending on age and circumstances, some survive, but not many come out the other side unscathed. Domestic rows, emotional tugging of the child when each parent vies with the other for affection, instability of one week in one home, one week in another…..all take their toll, along with other aspects.
The Amanda Todd story featured parental strife – a feature that has, in my opinion, been put to one side.
It must be very frustrating for all the researchers who take time and effort to produce information about parenting, only for it to be ignored. The classic case is in discipline and setting boundaries. Some parents desperately want to be liked by their kids. They want to be seen as cool, the best mom/dad in the world, the child’s friend. Unfortunately, many parents think that spoiling their kids and giving them endless freedoms is part of being cool, part of being a parent. It isn’t.
In the Amanda Todd story Amanda was given free rein to do whatever she wanted. There were no boundaries. It really would make this one of the longest posts in the world if I went into detail. Many kids will survive a boundary-free existence. Kids need a certain amount of freedom to learn. However, Amanda was, right from the get-go, a recognisably vulnerable child. To allow her to smoke weed, drink, have sex, stay out late at night (all things that others will cope with) was fatal. Which leads me on to…
Whenever weed smoking is mentioned, it causes an argument. It’s good for you. It’s bad for you. It’s legal. It’s illegal.
However, the one common aspect in research into the effects of marijuana on young, vulnerable children is that it is A BAD THING. It can’t be escaped. There’s not one bit of research and not one pro-marijuana zealot who can claim that weed-smoking is a good thing for a vulnerable, mentally unstable young child to be doing. Not one.
Yet in the Amanda Todd story we are supposed to believe that it wasn’t worth worrying about. Did anyone stop to think that Amanda’s poor achievements as school were connected to being slightly stoned or on a comedown? It’s yet another part of the story that is glossed over.
Much the same applies to drinking as applies to smoking weed. Amanda was allowed to drink, with only a hint of disapproval. I’ve seen Amanda’s drinking and drug-taking described as self-medication, or the kind of thing that every teenager does, therefore it’s OK.
In the Amanda Todd story we are led to believe that drinking wasn’t really worth worrying about. But yet again – Amanda had ‘vulnerable’ almost like a neon sign hanging over her head. Not many parts of the Amanda Todd story talk about the pitfalls of drink.
This is complex, as it’s kind of split in two, so here goes.
Online sexual activity.
We all know that Amanda was semi-addicted to performing online. What started off innocently enough got out of hand – way, way out of hand. She was not in the same league as Aurora, Jessi, Peyton or the others. She was a minor player, just about worthy of a mention by the Daily Capper.
What is, perhaps, most frustrating in the Amanda Todd story is how most people have dealt with her appearances online. The likes of BlogTV, Omegle, Stickam really got off lightly because the general public wanted to believe that it was all about one cunning predator who managed to groom Amanda privately…well, you know the story by now.
In the Amanda Todd story we are led to believe that no young girls are going online for likes. It’s all the fault of predators. This skewed view has led to skewed results – kids performing online because it’s OK because they know the person on the other end (yes, really) not realising that most revenge porn and idiocy of that type is peer-to-peer. Some kids (believe it or not) are saying it’s OK if they don’t show their face, or don’t give details.
Anyways. It would have helped if people had been honest about what Amanda was doing, That way, there could have been a concerted effort to control the likes of BlogTV (YouNow). Instead, all we’ve seen is stupid laws that end up with kids being charged as child pornographers for nothing more than a dick pic.
Real life sexual activity.
We don’t know too much about Amanda’s sexual activity in real life. Adults don’t really like to think of young kids being at it like rabbits. I’ll leave this part of the problem alone, except to repeat the same type of questions as I did for drink and drugs. Was it really wise to let Amanda who was – as far as we can make out – very much emotionally a child, have the same freedoms as more resilient kids? or even more freedom?
Mental health treatment.
The Amanda Todd story began as one of mental health, bullying, online predators, bad policing – you name it, everything was thrown on board. But bit by bit the story has been filtered down to be one of online shenanigans with a predator with peer-to-peer bullying as a side dish.
What should have happened? Hindsight is great. Sending Amanda to CABE (a school for difficult kids) was about the worst that could happen. I’ve researched it. Sending Amanda to CABE reminded me of reports about modern UK prisons – kids go in quite naive, and come out criminal experts, taught by the other inmates. CABE is full of kids who have already been in rehab, kids who all have appalling histories. Sending Amanda there was yet another fatal mistake. But we don’t hear about that. We don’t hear about British Columbia’s bad record of dealing with young problematic children.
Amanda should have (at the very least) have been home-schooled in the last 12 months, or placed in residential care. But never mind. It’s too late now.
The bullies are interesting. Just who were they? It’s here where I encounter a lot of animosity from feminists, because the vast majority (if not all of it) came from Amanda’s female friends. I even suspect that it was a close female friend who blew the whistle on BlogTV.
In typical online weirdness, research shows that the initial bullies (2010 and early 2011) may have had the very common girl thing going for them (e.g. start off as best buddies, have an almighty explosive split that shatters the established groupings, then re-group with some of the bullies going their own way and others re-establishing best-buddy status). It has been written (more than once, which gives it some validity) that some of the worst bullies were at the vigils, proclaiming life-long friendship.
In the Amanda Todd story, the whys and wherefores of the bullying have been – again, to a certain extent – put to one side. The feminists who have approached the Amanda Todd story annoy me in that they want to make it look as if it’s all a problem emanating from males (e.g. predator, groomer) but avoid the question of why girls are so vicious towards other girls which leads me conveniently to.
Another great thing about the Amanda Todd story is that it can be used to cover just about any online problem you want – slut-shaming being one of them.
Again, this is a complex problem which has been distorted by the Amanda Todd narrative. Some people want to portray Amanda as some sort of innocent child who was just getting naked online as part of growing up and who should have been left alone. Hopelessly naive wishful thinking.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are those who view Amanda’s behaviour as not-so-innocent. How would they describe Amanda’s online presence? Coquettish? Cute? Delinquent? I don’t know.
What I do know is that all this nonsense has led to an unbelievable situation in which now, given the hastily enacted new laws, Amanda wouldn’t be seen as an innocent, she would be seen as a distributor of child pornography. Yes,I know that people will gasp and swoon at that,but it’s true.
All I ask of any reader who doubts that last paragraph is: why do you think that the RCMP had so much difficulty in handling Amanda’s case? The big risk for them was how to deal with online blackmail in conjunction with Amanda’s ongoing self-exposure.
Yet another word bandied readily about in the Amanda Todd story. Recently, it has become the go-to word to excuse any nonsense. It simply isn’t possible to even slightly suggest that any person might have contributed to their own downfall.
It gets confusing, and clouds the issue. If there is any discussion about whether or not Amanda chose to go online, it gets closed down with shouts of ‘Victim-blaming!’. When Amanda chooses to take drugs – fine. If she chooses to drink – so what? She’s a kid and all kids do that. But it doesn’t answer the question ‘Why?’. Are kids aged 14-15 incapable of decision-making? What makes kids want to do what Amanda did? Is it really possible to think that Amanda was totally devoid of rational thought?
Again, what is surprising is that we are seeing more and more people saying on one side that Amanda and children like her are 14-15 years old, a child, and therefore incapable of making a rational decision, whilst simultaneously introducing laws that put the same 14-15 year old kids on the sex offenders register.
I’ve dealt with that in the blog somewhere (I’ll provide a link later). The Amanda Todd story is directly linked with an INCREASE in suicidal thoughts in children. It’s a disgrace. But nobody talks about that (or wants to).
Anyways. This is all a bit long. No doubt I will come back to this and add other points as I think of them.
Meanwhile, I’ll try to quickly answer another question asked of me repeatedly.
Why do I seem to have it in for Carol Todd?
I can’t deny it. I do have it in for Carol Todd. There is something odd about her. Every other parent goes through a huge grief process, but not Carol. Some will say she’s brave, but the way she so rapidly started appearing on TV after the event is ridiculously odd. I can tell you for certain – her reaction is unique, and not in a good way. Recently, Carol and her supporters went to Ireland. They contacted bereaved parents in the country to come and speak out like Carol does. ALL of them refused because it was too much to bear and they wanted privacy. ALL of them.
Carol Todd said that she felt like she was the mom of a rockstar. Yes, really.
Carol Todd ostracised Amanda in 2010, contributing to her low self-esteem and isolation and resulting in a begging letter that Carol seems proud to show. Yes, really.
Carol Todd allowed Amanda to smoke marijuana without any effort to stop it.
Carol Todd allowed Amanda to drink without any effort to stop it.
Carol Todd (and that idiot Norm) allowed free access to webcams for Amanda without any effort to stop it.
Carol Todd allowed Amanda to be out in dangerous places without supervision.
Carol Todd allowed Amanda to be promiscuous.
Carol Todd allowed that final video (which was a BIG MISTAKE).
Those are Carol Todd’s errors.
Since the tragedy Carol Todd has lied about Amanda’s activities. She has encouraged detrimental opinions of the RCMP. She has allowed – even encouraged – bullying online, particularly of the vigilante kind aimed at Kody Maxson. She has portrayed herself as the perfect mom – not letting on that she wasn’t around from 2009 to 2012, or that the final steep decline of Amanda happened when she eventually returned (Spring 2012 to October 2012).
Personally, I don’t think she’s done this for Amanda. I think she’s done it entirely for her own selfish image. She adds nothing to the debate, because she builds it all on falsehood. It’s the same story over and over again – Amanda the Snowflake. Everything is Amanda – so much so that other organisations cut her out of the action because nobody else could get their story across. Basically, she’s a liar. To be honest, I envy her in many ways. To have been so utterly, utterly useless and to be now held in such high regard is fantastic.
In reality, Carol Todd was very bad at parenting. To bask in the limelight of a tragedy that she had some part in is truly atrocious, to wallow in the fame of such a tragedy is horrible.
But remember – we are all Snowflakes. Send your money to Carol Todd now.
Laters, friends. Let me know if I’ve left anything out.