Internet trolls who are urging young teenagers to “Do a Ciara” have been branded as “sick” by Jonathan Pugsley, father of Ciara who died by suicide in September last year.
The details of the sick posts by internet trolls which seem to suggest teenagers to take their own lives like Ciara Pugsley and Erin Gallagher were revealed at a large cyber bullying conference in Cork last week.
Devastated father Jonathan Pugsley told the Leitrim Observer he had sadly read the reports about the internet trolls and said it was “more than unpleasant” for him, his family and Ciara’s friends. He branded the people who were posting such posts as “sick.”
Jonathan’s advise to anyone who sees a post online saying ‘Do a Ciara’ is to “report it immediately.” He said there is an issue trying to identify these trolls, but he asked internet sites to not allow anonymous users, in a way to combat this.
Internet trolls is slang for people who post items online in a forum, social media or blog with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response.
Facebook, one of the largest social media networks has vowed to show “zero tolerance” to anyone who posts abusive content, citing the tragic deaths of Irish teens Erin Gallagher (13) and Ciara Pugsley (15) as the company’s motivation. Both girls took their own lives last year, and their suicides were linked to ongoing cyberbullying.
Facebook also confirmed that it has been in contact with the website at the centre of the Ciara Pugsley tragedy, Ask.fm, amid indications that some users post comments from Ask.fm on to their own pages. Facebook said it does not allow anonymous use and, once a user has their account suspended, they are effectively barred from Facebook on a permanent basis.
Jonathan Pugsley is still awaiting new Irish legislation to combat cyber bullying. He said more money needs to be provided to educate young people and parents on the dangers of the internet and how to use it properly.
According to International Cyber Threat Force Ireland already has legislation to deal with online abuse - the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997. According to the Task Force “There needs to be a public awareness campaign to drive home the fact that what is illegal offline is illegal online. If people think they can hide anonymously behind their computer, they are wrong. In many cases, their identity can be easily found out through their IP address. It is not sophisticated criminals doing this,”
Irish MEPs have been bringing the issues to Europe seeking special e-identity measures, social media education in all schools from primary level upwards, and greater crackdowns on website providers that flout regulations. The Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications are currently meeting to examine the issue with a view to introducing regulations and/or legislation to deal with it. Lifting the veil of anonymity on internet trolls and forcing them to use real names is seen by some as a way to stamp out the vast amount of offensive material online.
Those affected by this story or who seek help should contact local support groups GRASP Life on 087 4188053 and/ or STOP on 1850 211 877.