Bethan Evans, Reporter
Friday, April 20, 2012
A WESTON mother has spoken out about how her life changed after seeing threatening messages posted on Facebook which targeted her and her home.
The 49-year-old mother, who does not want be named for fear of reprisals, became a victim of cyber-bullying and decided to fight back against threats which were publicly displayed on the social networking site.
She said the problems started around November last year when her 29-year-old daughter received malicious texts from a woman she knew.
She said: “It seems she was jealous because my daughter was friends with someone she liked.
“Then one day my daughter came downstairs and told me she was so angry about something that had been posted on Facebook.
“The woman posted threats concerning me, saying she was going to come to my house and break the windows, tie me up and kill my dog.
“It was very, very aggressive and very intimidating.
“Initially I thought ‘let it go’ but she was threatening me and my dog. I didn’t want to wake up in the morning to find my car had been smashed up.
“You don’t know if these people are going to carry their threats out or if they just want a reaction. I still worry now and what happened is still in the back of my mind.”
She said she immediately printed off the posts and decided she needed to take action against the 23-year-old Weston woman, who cannot be named for fear of reprisals to the mother, and called the police.
She said: “It was worse seeing it printed on the Facebook page because it was there for everyone to read.
“Reading it, rather than just hearing it made it all the more real. I was living on edge until she was taken to court.
“It’s worse seeing intimidating things like that on the internet because you start to worry, and think will others join in.
“Within the hour the post had been taken off. I do not know if she thought she had gone too far or if someone had warned her.”
In December 2011, the 23-year-old was found guilty of making malicious communications after threatening the mother on Facebook.
She received a supervision order and a community order for 60 hours unpaid work at North Somerset Courthouse.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary is currently making schools, young people and adults aware of the dangers of the internet, such as cyber-bullying and trolling with its Think You Know programme.
Trolling is purposefully antagonising other people on the internet, generally on message boards or sites like Facebook.
The worst cases of this have been when people have written nasty comments about young people who have died.
Superintendent Julian Moss said: “If any young person has problems online our recommendation is to tell your parents, teacher or other responsible adults.
“If the problem is serious or if problems carry on after an adult has got involved then you should call the police as soon as possible.”
The Weston mother said: “If others are going through this I would say definitely print it out. You need the proof, otherwise it just becomes a case of he said, she said.
“There is one thing I hate in this world and that’s bullies and they need to be stopped.
“Things like this can go too far and there are children out there who have killed themselves over bullying and that’s heart-breaking.”