Turkish Cypriot kills self after being cyber-bullied
ÖMER BİLGE NICOSIA - Hürriyet
Şeniz Erkan committed suicide a week before her birthday.A Turkish-Cypriot living in Australia jumped in front of a speeding train after being targeted by "cyber-bullies" on social media websites, daily Hürriyet reported today.
Unidentified people hacked into 14-year-old Şeniz Erkan's social media accounts and sent "disgusting" messages to her friends, her brother Aykut Erkan said.
"There were messages threatening and pressuring her on her mobile phone as well," Erkan said.
The victim's father, Şenol Erkan, said the young girl seemed to be in good spirits and the suicide came as a shock. He said he had never heard of cyber-bullying until his daughter's death Jan. 11.
"She never told us anything about it," Erkan said.
Geoff Pell, the principal of Taylor Lakes school, where Erkan was attending, said police launched a large-scale investigation and added that they were looking into claims that Erkan was being bullied at school for some time before her suicide.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has assigned the cyber-defense system, which was formed to protect government offices, to fight against "cyber-bullying" in the wake of Erkan's death.
The cyber-defense system will track social networking websites such as Facebook, Google+, MSN and Yahoo. Gillard called on Australians to report any act of cyber-bullying to the authorities.
What is cyber-bullying?
"'Cyberbullying' is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones,” stated Stopcyberbullying.org, a website dedicated to inform and warn people of cyber-bullying.
The website notes cyber-bullying differs from cyber-harassment and cyber-stalking as adults are involved in the latter two.