ca363c0abfaa2290c1088f7fe8f55c4bThis is something totally off-topic but social-media-related suicides are something that has sadly turned into an all too regular news story and cyberbullying is growing into an ever larger symptom of a society that can’t be cured.

The reason why some people turn to the internet to abuse others is because it is easy to do so from the anonymity of a keyboard but also because certain websites are making it very easy to start a bullying campaign. is just one of those very tools. You might have heard of the website if you’re living in Ireland because it has been linked to several cases of vicious cyberbullying, leading to the suicides of two teenage girls.

In the past three months, four Irish people took their own life because they were bullied online, so you probably understand my fear for family members and friends when I found out what some people anonymously write on people’s profiles. According to the Irish website

According to the Irish website Be Safe Web: “From looking at this website, I’m shocked at the very public conversations that are happening in this forum. I’ve seen conversations where ‘people’ are anonymously telling a 13-year-old girl to die as she’s not pretty enough or telling a 14-year-old boy to kill himself as he’s gay.” (

You feel utter hopelessness when children, teens and adults commit suicide because of being bullied. Where do you start? Who do you bring to justice? Parents, spouses, internet providers? Will website owners break data protection laws by giving out personal information?

With new technologies and social media, it has taken on a totally new dimension: the vastness of cyberspace has become a safe place where you can “hide” behind the anonymity of a laptop, desktop, mobile phone or tablet. It’s easy tormenting others in the knowledge that you’ll never be caught. Websites like do not give me much hope in people being brought to justice.

Below four people died after taking their own life in Ireland. Four in the space of three months time.

∞ Ciara Pugsley, aged 15 from County Leitrim, passed away in September 2012

∞ Erin Gallagher, aged 13 from County Donegal, passed away on October 27th, 2012

∞ Shannon Gallagher, aged 15 and sister of Erin, passed away in early December because she could not live without her sister

Shane McEntee, aged 56 from County Meath, passed away on December 21st, 2012

Who are these people who bullied them and therefore have blood on their hands? Who are those ignorant, selfish, stupid idiots who play with other people’s feelings, and lives?

Mark Terebin, founder of the Latvia-based, anonymous question and answer website, where two of the Irish teens were bullied, said that the problem is this: UK and Irish teens are crueller than teens from other countries.

I am simply lost for words when I read his response as to why Irish teens are being bullied on his website. He earns millions on a website that promotes nastiness from people. In short, he doesn’t give a damn as long as he can cash in on the hurt other people experience.

Anti-bullying is a cause I care about. Even if/when I physically can’t keep children off the likes of, at least I want to try and spread the word because we need children to know about the dangers the internet can pose. It’s not always the useful and necessary tool we want it to be, increasingly it’s turning into a blame and shame tool. That’s something books have never done.

I was bullied during the first few years of primary school, and memories come flooding back when I hear of kids being singled out by the bad behaviour of others. I wore glasses, came from divorced parents and I suppose I wasn’t the prettiest girl of the class, which meant I was an easy target. Children are very impressionable and they quickly believe what others tell them. Memories of it always stuck in the back of my mind because at that time, it had an impact on my confidence and I had to learn how to trust again.

Needless to say, memories of it always stuck in the back of my mind because at that time, it had an impact on my confidence and I had to learn how to trust again.

They say bullying changes you: you look for solitude or you turn into a bully yourself. Gladly I didn’t turn out a bully, but for a time my defence mechanism was to withdraw and I was afraid to go to school and afraid to walk past certain children in school, or afraid to say something. When I was around 9 or 10, I cried daily in class and I was afraid to do almost anything because the boy sitting next to me constantly humiliated and harassed me. Suffice to say that there is a lot of truth in the saying that children can be very cruel.

In the end, I think my bullying experience somehow shaped me because I swore not to go down that road myself and to help other people instead of being nasty. Either way, those years were not my finest and I looked forward to the day I would be strong enough to stand up to children who were not taught how to treat others correctly.

I stood up.

And I realised that I’m better than those memories because I moved on. I’ve forgiven the people that bullied me, and I hope they understood that what they did was just wrong.

If you’re in Ireland and you are affected by bullying, please reach out and take note of these phone numbers and links:

* Childline: 1800 666656, or text “list” to 50101

* Parentline: 1890 927277
* Teen Ireland: 1800 833634
* Console 24/7 helpline: 1800 201890
* 3Ts 24/7 suicide prevention helpline: 1800 247100, or text “help” to 51444
* HSE suicide prevention helpline: 1800 742745

Cyberbullying advice websites:
Expert advice at
Academic-based research is available at
Internet Safety for Schools at

© WVE and Ireland, MS and Me, 2011-2013. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WVE and Ireland, MS and Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

5 thoughts on “Teens, social media and suicide

    1. Apologies for not replying to this before! Yes, I will ask her what can be done because after hearing that another girl in the UK passed away by suicide, it is becoming very urgent.


  1. After Erin’s and Ciara’s death calls have been made to better regulate websites like, but the problem is whether blocking websites like this will stop children from being targeted online. Closing a website would more than likely generate more media, leading to other quick-money-grabbing people setting up a similar website.

    If it were up to me, I’d contact my European minister and try to convince him/her to look into it, because it cannot be that precious children end their lives because of being bullied. I think 5 people in the space of just 3 months is more than enough.


  2. Goed geschreven, meiske. Misschien kan er iets gedaan worden, want het begint serieuze vormen aan te nemen, en het is zo onpersoonlijk. Het wordt op de duur een heksenjacht. En het gepeupel doet gretig mee he!


    1. Dankjewel mama :) En ja… als meer mensen moesten opstaan en zeggen dat het inderdaad een ware plaag is, dan kan er misschien iets worden aangedaan. Het is triest, intriest als je denkt dat tieners er het leven door laten.


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