|12-12-2012, 11:27 AM||Topic Starter|
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Teen girl kills herself after taunting from Internet trolls
A teenage girl has hanged herself after internet trolls relentlessly bullied her online, with one asking 'can you kill yourself already?', her friends have claimed.
Jessica Laney, 16, was found dead at her home in Hudson, Florida, on Sunday night after users on social networking sites branded her 'fat', a 'slut' and tormented her over her looks and love life.
The teen had a profile on Ask.fm, where people can post questions anonymously on a user's page, and friends claim constant abuse pushed Jessica over the edge.
'My friend Jessica Laney took her life,' friend Valeria Canales told ABC. 'She was constantly bullied and bullied. And she was pushed and pushed to the point where she couldn’t handle it anymore.
'Ask.fm is a website where people can ask anonymous questions to anyone they want. And that's how Jessica was constantly put down and bullied... It needs to be shut down.
'She was a beautiful girl & everyone loved her. Shes gonna be missed. We have to put an end to bullying. Please help.'
The cruel remarks can still be seen on Jessica's page. One visitor asked her, 'Can you kill yourself already?' while another commented 'nobody even cares about you'.
Jessica, who was a keen soccer player, also takes to the page to reveal her own turmoil, sharing her heartbreak at her troubled family life, school spats and concerns over her body.
'My brother and I don't talk anymore,' she wrote earlier this month. 'My dad, yeah he ignores me like I don't even f***ing exist. I have almost no friends I actually trust. My mom bitches at me for the littlest things. I am basically all alone.'
And in one now haunting post, she responded to a question asking what she thought about suicide.
'If you ever feel this low I just wanna say it's not your fault,' she wrote at the end of November. 'I know you feel useless, broken, not wanted and alone. I was there. But I promise you it will get better.
'You will get through the endless pain I promise school will be over soon and you can get away from the judgmental f***s. Nothing is worth it; it will all get better.'
However, officials at Pasco County Sheriff's Office said neither Jessica's parents or boyfriend were aware of any bullying and said no formal complaint had ever been made to the school district.
'Our thoughts and prayers go to the Jessica Marie Laney's family as they deal with their loss,' Sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobi added.
On Tuesday, students at Fivay High School, where Jessica attended and played soccer, wore purple in remembrance of the teenager.
The students are also pushing for the website, Ask.fm, to be closed down.
'After I saw that, I thought they should just delete the website,' friend Laney Torres told ABC Action News. 'Nobody should have that, to have people say stuff like that on there.'
Around 3,000 people have signed a petition at Change.org to close the website.
Sheriff Chris Nocco said the messages on Ask.fm are disturbing and an investigation continues.
'What we can say is that we are going through the social network sites right now,' he said.
'We don't even know if a crime occurred. It could have been nasty words that were said, that led this young girl to take the actions that she did.'
Ask.fm is a website where users can post anonymous questions to other users and is said to have more than 20 million members.
The Latvian-based site, which targets 13 to 18 year olds, previously came under fire after it was linked to the deaths of two teenagers in Ireland earlier this year.
The website's terms of service recommend 'by way of example, and not as a limitation' that users do not transmit 'offensive, threatening, harassing, libellous, hate-oriented, harmful' content.
And during a previous investigation, founder Mark Terebin posted: 'Ask.fm is just a tool which helps people to communicate with each other, same as any other social network, same as phone, same as piece of paper and pen.
'Don't blame a tool, but try to make changes... start with yourself... be more polite, more kind, more tolerant of others... cultivate these values in families, in schools.'
Laney's death has been classified as a suicide but the sheriff's office continues to investigate the events that led to her death.
More than 1,600 people have 'liked' a Facebook page set up in tribute to the teenager.
Kristi Clark said: 'Beautiful girl, inside and out. I had the pleasure of knowing her. Very sweet, bubbly personality, such a horrific shame at what has happened!'
Sheri Toth wrote: 'So sad to hear. Such a beautiful and young girl. Prayers to all her family & friends. This bullying does need to stop!!! The people that were bullying her, need to be held accountable!'