'People were telling her how ugly she was'
IMAGINE how hard it is for parents watching their child change and collapse under the impact of cyber bullying.
One Northern Rivers family has shared part of their story:
"At 11 years old our daughter was outgoing, happy, had a large group of friends, joined in family activities and was doing well at school.
"Over the next three years we saw her change into someone who was isolated, had no friends, didn't want to leave her room, unhappy, wouldn't talk and refused to go to school.
"We did not know what to do, we felt helpless. It felt the more we tried to help her, the more she pushed us away.
"Cyber bullying also impacts on the family and friends of the victim in such a way that we continually bounced from anger ('Why can't someone stop this?') to guilt ('Why can't we protect our child?') and all the feelings in between.
"To begin with, our daughter tried to ignore it and deal with it herself. She didn't understand why people were telling her how ugly she was... and continually threatening to harm her in so many ways.
"When she finally told us about it we were shocked and sat holding her... trying to reassure her it was not true and we would do something to fix it. Little did we know how powerless we would feel against this threat.
"By this time our little girl was having suicidal thoughts and was self-harming.
"Our journey, as a family, has been long and filled with fear, anger, frustration and sadness but we know we are one of the lucky ones as we still have our daughter."
Parents and families are invited to a free course to help them tackle cyber bullying of children. It will be held tonight at the Casino RSM Club, 5.30-7.30pm. Email Maureen Gill at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 66626792 for more details.
Visit www.kidshelpline.com.au or phone 1800 55 1800.