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Amanda Todd’s Extortion, Cyber Bullying and Suicide Analysis Report
Kayla Woodside
Student # 0657835
Mount Saint Vincent University
PBRL 3013
March 15, 2015

Abstract 3
Introduction and background 3
Literature Review 4
Conclusion 9
References 10

This research project looks at culturally attractive situations or occurrences in today’s world that has or had a significant effect on the media resulting to a trend or, otherwise known as a setting of agenda. This paper in particular will look at Amanda Todd’s extortion and cyber bullying leading to the suicide of the 15-year-old girl.
With a serious of articles from four different news sources, this paper will look at the history of the girl, what happened in her life leading to the bullying and how the “sextortion” (Kelley, M., 2013) lead to multiple suicide attempts and inevitably death of Amanda Todd. The paper will identify triggers for the articles trending, framing of the storytelling and underlying message within the articles answering questions of importance, publicity, and extortion amongst extortion.

Introduction and Background
According to Amanda Todd’s mother, Carol Todd, Amanda was a happy, popular, and energetic 15-year-old girl who loved to sing and perform. Despite being very shy, Amanda shined on camera and grew to love the technology that aided in her decision to end her life.
In 2010 Amanda was in seventh grade, she browsed the Internet like any other teenager and visited blogging sites as well as chat rooms. She used the chat rooms to meet new people, receiving compliments on not only her voice while singing, but her looks aswell. It wasn’t too long before there were contacts asking for more of Todd. These seemingly nice, school-aged boys needed more and more of Todd to the point where she gave in and exposed her breasts in the chatrooms. That’s when the blackmail started.
Todd refused to expose herself anymore, so the predator told her he would send the topless image of Todd to her friends, family and school if she didn’t oblige with more “shows”. It wasn’t until the Christmas break of the same school year did the Todd family find out the photo was circulating the Internet by the police at 4 a.m.
With her school friends bullying her, calling her names and excluding her, Amanda grew depressed, filled with anxiety all hours of the day. Todd and her family moved to another town and started a new school. Although this was an escape, a fresh start, Todd couldn’t escape the cyber-madness her life had become. The extortionist followed and so did the bullying from everyone at school once they found out. Todd experimented with drugs, alcohol and sex.
With nothing else to lose Todd felt so alone in a world of torture, she tried to take her life many times before successfully doing so on October 10, 2012.

Literature and Review
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” This has relevance to the findings of Todd’s case due to the correlation of the spiral of silence theory which states that people attempt not to violate social consensus for fear of being isolated and ostracized. People constantly monitor the environment to determine the distribution of opinions concerning controversial issues. Todd’s experiences with the external world bullying her are a direct example of spiral of silence. Fifteen to seventeen-year-old kids do not speak out against the crowd lightly and you can see the predominance within the teenage culture in everyday life and own experiences – everyone is growing into themselves but at the same time want to fit into what is deemed ‘popular’.
The CBC’s The Fifth Estate, published Nov. 15, 2013, titled ‘The Sextortion of Amanda Todd’ tells Todd’s story in a broadcast television piece that shines a light on the extortion Todd suffered from online bullies as well as bullies in everyday life – there was no way out for the young, depressed girl. The framework depicts how predators can be alluring, attractive and seemingly innocent with the use of story framing, an explanation of the process of something or how something works historically with trend setting framing in it as well, the news as an ongoing trend. This feature article narrates the story in such ways to draw attention to Todd’s struggle and reality of her situation with the underlying message of awareness for Internet stalking with interest in the state.
The story was told through a broadcast television piece with it being the main story told for the night with the use of 8 different sources to make the story the most credible and opinionated as possible to add Logos to the story. The trigger is easy identifiable considering the story was very high profile and after the death of another young girl taking her life due to bullying, the outstanding problem is more evident than ever.
Published Jan. 28, 2015 ‘Amanda Todd suspect Aydin Coban writes open letter proclaiming innocence’ tells the story of Todd’s alleged stalker claiming innocent one year after being imprisoned and nine charges laid. The public had great backlash towards the story on the side of Todd – the public asked ‘why claim innocent a year after?’ and concluded that he was a master manipulator.
The story frames the alleged predator claiming victim as nothing more than a victimizing predator who did on to 75 other girls as he allegedly did to Todd. This conjecture focuses on Coban around speculation of what may come after the open letter. With the use of two sources, the letter written by the alleged predator and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) the story successfully draws attention to the possible fight in court for freedom of Coban. This story had an underlying message in the form of a question, if someone already charged of nine offenses claims innocence after a year, where will this story go?
This smaller broadcast piece was more of a highlight of general news opposed to the feature stories of Todd’s awareness. The visuals used of the letter during the video cast a reality upon the letter.
Published Dec. 5, 2014 ‘Stalking Amanda Todd: The man in the shadows’ gives life to the accused’s story identifying where he was from, what he was like and how the predator did made the same offences in three different countries, not all leading to death like Todd’s story. This framework of outlook fits into the history of the highly publicized case of Amanda Todd.
This feature story used many sources to tell Todd’s story to catch the readers up then used sources like Facebook security, Coban’s lawyer, the RCMP and the Norwegian family’s story of their daughter being extorted and blackmailed just like Todd.
With the underlying message of his guilt and another issue of awareness while online, the story uses photos of Todd during the broadcast to give a Pathos approach and add humility to the story of a sick man.
Published April 11, 2013, ‘Amanda’s Mother Reaches out to Rehtaeh’s Mother’ looks at a story of a mother helping a mother deal with the loss of a sad young daughter taken back the victimizing students at her daughter’s school.
This reaction story is a result of another story like Todd’s where the use of the Internet extorting a photograph led to the depression and suicidal death of a girl much too young. With only one source being used – Carol Todd – the story creates a sense of community and awareness to the ongoing issue of cyber bully in today’s teenage culture.
With no visuals at all, the radio broadcast still creates that sense of underlying loss and need for awareness.
The Globe and Mail (GM) published an allude to the need of governments help for cyber bullying in ‘Cyber bullying bill C-13 moves on despite Supreme Court decision’. After the highly publicized deaths of Amanda Todd, Rehteah Parsons and Jamie Hubley the public’s need for awareness rose greatly which, gave the journalist a need for government answers. The framing of the story shines a light on the movement of a bill that took too long to create – this horse race framing highlights a need for responsibility in the government as well as having the underlying message out in the open to strictly identify the problem at hand. With the use of one photo – a suited man coming out of an office building – the story tells the tale of action and need for it.
The article could have added a non-government’s voice but it wasn’t needed to get the point of action needed out into the public.
The Vancouver Sun (TVS), much like the CBC, felt a need for exposure of the accused. Published June 27, 2014, ‘Dutch man charged in Amanda Todd online blackmail case’ the story goes into detail like never before about Coban’s life and his arrest. With the framing tactic of personality profile and reality check, the article creates a profile of the accused as well as looks closely into the statements made and information given about the man.
With over eight sources ranging from the RCMP, prosecutors and lawyers dealing with the predator the story also highlights Todd with her mother’s words, and more from the family of the Netherlands teen who suffered much like Todd but with a better ending. With greater look at the legal system and Coban’s life working from cabin to cabin trying to find more young girls who hasn’t come into their own and lies victim to the praise and approval he has to offer, the story has a message of further awareness and the issues at hand from this man’s poor choices is a great issue with the number of cases of cyber bullying rising.
The story leads with the YouTube video Todd posted about her death. She told her story on small white peaches on paper with a black marker, showing the world that she isn’t the bad guy – she admits to her bad choice of exposing herself and falling into the hands of not only men taking advantage of her but young boys as well. Wit the video cascading a darkness of the article the need for awareness is shown strong.
The National Post (NP) published ‘Manitoba brothers jailed 16 month for ‘relentless’ cyber bullying attack on teen girl’ on Dec. 4, 2014. The story was written by the news wire Canadian Press as a general news story. Stories such as these, no matter how small have now had great impact on today’s society due to the highly publicized story of Todd and Parsons. The framing calls for more awareness within the communities and the fact that ‘sextortion’ is increasingly becoming an issue in a society of technologically advancing children. The outlook story tells a tale of current news that fits into the trend in history.
With use of sources like the judge in the Manitoba case and The Canadian Centre for Child Protection the call to action couldn’t be louder for the ongoing issue. This is another example where the need of an underlying message is laid out clear.
The story uses a short video in the middle of the story of Rehteah Parson’s mother speaking along side The Canadian Center for Child Protection in a conference for an anti-bullying curriculum and a photo of a man tying on a keyboard to highlight the ongoing issue of Internet predators.

In conclusion, these examples of the highly publicized events of cyber bully, real life bullying and extortion of young girls has had a significant reaction and effect on mainstream media due to the trend in which tragedy effected and resulted from spiral of silence. Agenda setting rand strong within theses stories because of the call to action Todd’s parents created with later help from the Parson’s tragedy. Although the call to action and awareness is strong, one has to wonder if the exact thing that calls for awareness is extorting the story of an extorted young girl.

Kelley, M. (2013, April 10). The Sextortion of Amanda Todd - the fifth estate - CBC News. Retrieved March 16, 2015, from
News, C. (2015, January 29). Amanda Todd suspect Aydin Coban writes OPEN letter proclaiming innocence. Retrieved March 16, 2015, from
Stalking Amanda: The Man in the Shadows. (2014, December 5). Retrieved March 16, 2015, from fifth estate/Season 40/ID/2627013385/
Amanda Todd's Mother reaches out to Rehteah's Mother. (2013, April 11). Retrieved March 16, 2015, from Parsons/ID/2375621678/
Wingrove, J. (2014, October 1). Cyberbullying bill C-13 moves on despite Supreme Court decision. Retrieved March 16, 2015, from
Culbert, L., & Hager, M. (2014, June 27). Dutch man charged in Amanda Todd ONLINEblackmail case. Retrieved March 16, 2015, from charged Amanda Todd ONLINE blackmail case/9749151/story.html
Manitoba brothers jailed 16 months for 'relentless' cyberbullying attack on teen girl. (2014, December 4). Retrieved March 16, 2015, from
Hallahan, K. (n.d.). Seven Models Of Framing: Implications For Public Relations. Journal of Public Relations Research, 205-242.
Weick, K. (n.d.). Agenda Setting in Organizational Behavior: A Theory-Focused Approach.Journal of Management Inquiry, 171-182.
Noelle-Neumann, E. (1974), The Spiral of Silence A Theory of Public Opinion. Journal of Communication, 24: 43–51. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.1974.tb00367.x
Martin luther king jr quotes in the end. (n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2015, from

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