Cyberbullying: Kameron Jacobsen's Story
Is Cyberbullying truly increasing the rates of teenage suicide in the United States today versus before technological advances in the last twenty years?
What social networking site do you think generates the most bullying?
Teenager Bullied Online
Whenever I see the words "teenager bullied online" I automatically expect that the next sentence will read they took their own life and most of the time its how it reads. I have started stories on each individual child not realizing how many of them there are and its going to take me a long time to complete it but I made a promise to myself among things going on in my own life and my son being bullied for years...that I would make sure each one is done. I want to remember each of these kids in my own way. I want to log in and be able to see each one because that means others will see them. They were beautiful children and it breaks my heart because of the pain they felt. I have been bullied, even into adulthood, and its so emotionally damaging that you want to scream at people how can you say things that are so hurtful! I asked a close family member recently when they said some horrible mean things to me and they said we have to accept it because that's who they are and I said no, you don't have to accept it from anyone and that's the truth. I read a new story and my tears start to run down my face. It could be my son if we aren't careful and that is also something no one around here thinks. They live in the haze of life being as it was when we were younger and the truth is it can and will happen if you don't change the way you are thinking. When, as a mother, you hear your hurting child have this meltdown you have never seen, you don't understand, they won't tell you anything...and you can feel them hurting just watching them...and they say they want to die...and they say that word suicide...
Well, its a heart wrenching and soul shattering sentence to hear. They won't let you hold them, they won't let you fix it...they hate you and wish you hadn't had them. Why is it my son? Well as a parent we have to take that seriously now. We have to watch them. Because even boys are vulnerable.
Kameron Jacobsen was 14-years-old when he killed himself in January 2011 in Monroe, New York. He made it to the fourth month of his freshman year where he fell victim to never ending bullying from school and online. Kameron used the social networking sites Facebook and Formspring and the bullying last two and a half years online as well as being thrown into lockers and once his jaw was broken.
Mr. Jacobsen agreed that he felt that it was a form of torture that his son had to endure, psychological torture and emotional torture. The awful thing is that when the police investigation started and closed only two and a half weeks later no one was surprised that they ruled there was no evidence that the child was bullied.
Who Was Kameron Jacobsen
Kameron was nothing like the children that bullied him. He was described as sweet, generous, gentle, and a giving kid who adored animals. He was volunteering at Pets Alive with his mom where she attended and helped run events. Pets Alive decided to honor Kameron by recognizing kids that show excellent examples of kindness and are empathetic towards people, peers, and animals. Kameron's death was a shock and hit our community hard. The Jacobsen family stated,
Acknowledging the positive is so important. Thank you for giving us a reason to smile today we so desperately need that. And yes you know and we know "there are good kids out there."
Before the bullying started wearing down their son emotionally and mentally, he had been a happy child. They have videos of Kameron and his brother staring in their own show, playing on the little league baseball team, and like all teenagers spent a lot of time on the computer. So when he started coming home and telling his mom what the other kids were doing to him it hit her as horrific behavior. Then he said, "I don't want to live like this Mom".
So, like all the concerned mother's and father's we have gone down to the school's or in this case the school district offices to ask for help in controlling this situation. Most parents haven't hid the fact that they were going down there and they were going to report the situation but the Jacobsen family was doing it without Kameron knowing because they hoped to talk to his teacher's and have them slowly build up his self-esteem thinking that it would start the process of making it better for him but it just got worse.
After his death, they didn't realize that it wasn't what they thought at all but so much worse. When a mother is grieving and can stand there and see what was going on for the first time, and say that if she was this heartbroken and in pain she could imagine his. Some of these kids he had called his friends. When they embarked on making the anti-bullying laws more strict and redefined terms that were outdated for technology, the superintendent had told the media that it wasn't a burden to her at all. From other stories we know the district doesn't really work flexibility with the family and definitely not willing like this one was. Their superintendent had actually later partnered with Crime Stoppers to embark on putting an end to bullying.
Do you agree with the decesion not to prosecute Kameron's bullies?
January 2012 - A Year Later, Another Tragedy
Losing a child has to be the most painful event in a person's life. I saw that grief and pain in my parent's when my sister died in a car accident at 15. I can't even begin to imagine how any parent would even be able to get out of bed let alone the parents of these kids that commit suicide because of bullying, talking to the media and school's and police retelling their story so many times you wonder how they even have tears left. You think of how gut-wrenching standing up in front of people you don't know and telling strangers your son's secrets. The ones he hid from you. Telling them how they killed themselves. These parents across the victims have even shared suicide notes, social media posts, have given statements as to personal events that had attributed.
Kevin Jacombsen, Kameron's father, became an advocate for anti-bullying after his son's death. They created "Kindness Above Malice" foundation that its purpose is to help other bullied kids. Instead of looking to punish the kids that bullied their son to death, they want to save others. It wouldn't bring Kameron back to push for criminal charges on these kids.
When a child dies there are couples that are brought closer and there are those that divorce. Mine divorced. What about the one's that have trouble dealing with the pain?
A year after Kameron decided to take his own life, in January of 2012, Kevin Jacobsen and father of this beautiful boy took his own life in the same way his son had taken his. He hung himself in their Monroe New York, home. What Wanda Jacobsen must have been and probably still feels is nothing I would wish on my worst enemy. It really shows you how the bullies actions didn't just take that boy's life, it destroyed his family and took his father with him. I hope that father and son are reunited and for once Kameron now feels safe.
© 2012 Abigayle Korinne