Cybermobbing – Safer Internet Day

Polizei Schwaben Süd/West – Facebook link

Zum Thema des heutigen #SID2017 hat uns Carol Todd, die Mutter von Amanda, persönlich ein paar Zeilen zukommen lassen. Hier in Auszügen ihre Botschaft:

“Cybermobbing, auch als Belästigung und Beschimpfung über das Internet zu beschreiben…”

“…Der Hauptpunkt ist, dass das kontinuierliche Bewusstsein und Schulung dahingehend wichtig sind, was das Internet eigentlich ist und wie es verantwortungsbewusst genutzt werden kann…”

“…Das Beste was man machen kann ist, sich einer Vertrauensperson anzuvertrauen, so dass geholfen und unterstützt werden kann. Die Strafverfolgungsbehörden haben gelernt, dass sie Anzeigen [zu diesem Thema] ernster nehmen müssen. Junge wie auch ältere Menschen wurde beigebracht wie wichtig es ist, einerseits offen darüber zu sprechen und andererseits persönliche Daten privat und offline zu halten…”

“…Der Safe[r] Internet Day ist eine Möglichkeit, die Themen anzustoßen, über die geredet werden muss…”

“…Solange wir uns nicht scheuen, über das Thema zu sprechen, können wir diese eh schon unübersichtliche Welt für unsere Kinder, aber auch für Erwachsene, sicherer machen.“

Unser herzlicher Dank geht an Carol Todd, die sich trotz des gerade in den Niederlanden stattfindenden Prozesses gegen den mutmaßlichen Täter die Zeit genommen hat, uns ihre Nachricht zukommen zu lassen. Die englische Originalnachricht findet ihr in den Kommentaren.

Cybermobbing | Safer Internet Day

On the topic of today’s #sid2017 gave us Carol Todd, the mother of Amanda, personally a few lines. Here in extracts your message:

” cyberbullying, also known as harassment and abuse over the internet to describe…”

“… the main point is that the continuous awareness and training are important to what the internet really is and how it can be used responsibly…”

“… the best thing you can do is to entrust a trustworthy person, so that helped and supported. The law enforcement agencies have learned that you are [show] on this issue more seriously. Young as well as the elderly was taught how important it is to talk openly about personal data and on the other hand, private and offline to keep him…”

“… the safe [R] Internet day is an opportunity to launch the topics about which needs to be talked to…”

“… as long as we do not give up on the subject, we can talk about this already chaotic world for our children, but also for adults, safer.”

Our heartfelt thanks goes to Carol Todd, despite the currently taking place in the Netherlands process against the alleged perpetrator has taken the time to give us your message. The English original message can be found in the comments.

English Translation

Cybermobbing, also described as online harassment and abuse, has become a widely talked about of conversation in recent years in response to cases that we have seen in mainstream media. Most notably, the trial of Aydin C in the Netherlands has become a focus where he has been charged with the victimizing and assault of 39 individuals, both young and older. It is behaviours such as this that continue to horrify and make the conversations more prominant, relevant and understandable.

The internet and the use of technology is something that is very much part of all our daily lives. Making it a scary place to be isn’t healthy as the use of technology is part of our digital diet, both in homes, work and school. The main point is that continued awareness and education of what the internet is like and how to use it appropriately is important. We must also have the ongoing conversation of what to do if someone online is being harassing and/or threatening. Keeping that information private to only yourself is not healthy or beneficial. The best thing to do is to make sure that someone trusting is told so that support and help can be given. Law enforcement has been learning that reports need to be taken more seriously. Young people and their older counterparts are being taught how important it is to have the conversations out loud and how to also keep their personal information private and offline. There is a clear distinction of what should and should not be shared online. In addition, it is important that in homes, communities and schools, the conversations need to be started and continued. Safe Internet Day is a way to start creating the topics that need to be talked about. Then it is more important to keep the talk time going 365 days a year. As long as we aren’t afraid to have the conversation, we can keep not only our children but also adults, safer in an already confusing world.

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Day One (Amsterdam) – February 6, 2017

Follow Mathijs Pennings on Twitter and click on the English Translation tab to get current info on todays trial.

What an interesting day that isn’t going to be over until midnight tonight in Amsterdam time. There were so many media outlets wanting interviews that I decided to just clump them into one room and do a group interview. (Just like we see in the TV shows or even, at the White House.) So had a small one at 3 pm and then another one at 4 pm. I truly didn’t think there were so many different news people out here. Rob was even surprised. I’m sure the hotel might not have been prepared. We had called them earlier so they could help set up for us.  In reflecting to Rob later, with the help of the hotel, we were able to create our own press conference.

When I saw AC for the first time, many asked what it felt like. I couldn’t answer yesterday as my brain was too full and I hadn’t ‘unpacked’ it yet.  But now that I have had time to think and reflect, the words that come into my head is ‘relief and satisfaction’.  I did think he looked younger that portrayed in the artist sketches that I had seen.  Some might think that would be a funny word of description.  But if I tried to explain it, this is how it would sound. The words that I felt were ‘relief and satisfaction’.  

And these are the reasons why:  

  • because the trial here in the Netherlands has been postponed a numerous, it was good to see that the trial was in its 5th session day
  • we were able to see what AC really looks like
  • we were able to hear his voice
  • to know that other victims and families were able to find strength to share their testimony of what happened to them to show the courts that they want to see the person responsible held accountable for their actions

During the trial today, the words of “I remain silent” will be etched in my brain forever. You would think that if a person accused of a crime believes he is innocent or not guilty, he/she would speak up and share the reasons why.  These are many observations of court today and were put out to the media gallery.

** Aydin appears to be smiling in court while judge is speaking to him and the courts about this. Judge calls him out ‘This is not a game. This is serious. Why do you not speak?”

** AC response to judges questioning: “I remain silent”

A takeaway for me is that there were many victims from all over the world and that extortion or sextortion as we now call it was quite evident.

One of the main questions that continues to stick in my head is this one – ” How did you feel when you saw Mr Coban in person?” “How angry do you feel?” “What do you want as a consequence for Mr Coban” “How do you feel when he does not speak?”

Here are my answers that I quite strongly speak out loud:

1. How did you feel when you saw Mr Coban in person?

My first reaction when I saw him was – “Wow!! So that’s really him. The #@$%” It was quick and it was brief. He entered the courtroom. Turned to probably say hello to the other member of the defence team and then sat down. Did he know I was there? I am sure he did. It would be more interesting to find out what he was thinking when he found I would be in the courtroom or even in the Netherlands for this trial. ( I was in the actual courtroom to see him, but then went somewhere else to listen to the trial with a translator. Seeing the back of his only for the rest of the morning.) The short glimpse of him certainly made this part of the journey more real.

2. “How angry do you feel?”

I have said this more than once, I am beyond anger and don’t hold it or feel it at this point in time. Angry gets nothing accomplished and there is more power in being calm and rational. I feel sadness for Mr Coban and any other individual who feels that they have to inflict behaviours such as this onto others. Especially young others. Because as we all know now, the feeling of being victimized spreads more than to the victims themselves as families and friends are now part of the group. I was angry at Amanda for not being strong enough to hold on in this world. Angry doesn’t help to change the ways we speak, enforce rules, change legislation or help us heal. Angry doesn’t allow us to be a voice that others will listen to. I

3. “What do you want as a consequence for Mr Coban”

No idea. I trust that the justice system will see all the evidence, listen to the testimonies and make a decision which we will all hopefully) be satisfied with. One of the majors would be to take internet access away forever for Mr Coban as he has proven that he cannot use it appropriately.

4. “How do you feel when he does not speak?”

It is more interesting to see his words when he does decide to utter some. The words ‘rubbish’ came out today from him.

That’s all for now. #Justice4Amanda and all the other victims.


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Another heartfelt story …

Click to watch video.


Last weekend I was at Costco shopping.  As I wandered the clothing area, I was overhearing a conversation with someone who was explaining what a Ted Talk was -“A short speech about something the person is passionate about.”

I had to chuckle in my thoughts as in preparing for my TedxTalk last spring, it was one of the stressful things I have had to do in my life.  As I walked past this person, I did stop and share that with her.  I shared who I was and where she could find my TedxTalk.   She promised she would find and watch it.

Yesterday,  got this message on my Facebook …

“Hi Carol, I want to thank you for the other day in Costco, when you were in the clothing section and overheard me talking about the Ted Talks and mentioned you had given one.  I didn’t get at the time [my apologies] that your beautiful daughter had passed and that she had been the victim of such online abuse. My heart goes out to all of you. I watched the TedTalk you gave and it was very powerful, I got tears from your words. I can so relate to the four walls you spoke of and now realize, that I too have been living within those 4 same walls. As you mentioned each one, I knew that it also played a powerful role in my life. Thank you for sharing them, I needed someone to say them so I could really hear them and know they were true for me; and have in affect ruled my life. I also watched Amanda’s video and the ones done by the Fifth Estate. All very powerful and such an eye opener. I think most people are unaware of the extent of the abuse and trolling being done online and how deeply it affects both the young and old. You said Amanda wanted to be famous, now she is, people are aware of her and her journey and steps are being done to make changes so others never have to live through what she did. What an angel you have with you. She is making a difference and will continue to make a difference. Much love and heart hugs.”

I then asked her if I could share her message and thoughts on my blog and she said  “Yes, I very much give you permission to use my words. I so agree, with all the strife and turmoil in the world, we all need to know that within us all is goodness. Just like the man who trolled you and then by your response asking him to share his story, his life changed. You listened and you encouraged.How awesome.”

I love sharing the stories of others because I feel it gives #inspiration and #hope to others that this world can be a better place.  So when you are out and about today, #MakeTodayPositive by doing something wonderful for someone else.  That was one of Amanda’s virtues as she always wanted to feed the animals, take in stray pets and give lots to the Toy Bank and the Food Bank whenever she could.

If we can learn from the goodness of others, we can certainly share and #PayItForward on and on.  We all may have personal adversities but with #hope and #caring, we can overcome!!

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