Mom Defends Tween YouTube Star, Despite Death Threats

This weekend, an 11-year-old Florida girl who became an overnight YouTube sensation — for all the wrong reasons — was taken into protective custody after she received death threats. In an interview with Momlogic, the mother of Jessica Leonhardt (aka: Jessi Slaughter) defended her daughter and the videos (which she admits she hasn’t seen).

The case, nicely explained by Maralee at Famecrawler, is sad and cringe-inducing and kind of astounding. Sure, an 11-year-old uploading (NSFW) videos of herself swearing a bluestreak isn’t all that shocking these days. But the parents’ reaction?

They’re awfully naive.

After getting prank phone calls, fake messages and confirmations for pizza orders the Leonhardt family never made, Jessica went online to beg those making the threats and orders and calls to stop. In the meantime, her father stands behind her screaming at, well, the camera and of course now that video has became another sensation. It also didn’t stop the threats and harassment.

OnĀ  Friday, police took Jessica in to protective custody, which Dianne Leonhardt describes to MomLogic. She also has this to say to parents who might find themselves in the situation:

Communicate with your child, try and watch them and try and believe what your child is saying to you. Give your child the benefit of the doubt, because nobody else will. And talk to your child about cyberbullying and about how bad it’s going to hurt another person. They don’t know or understand the dwindling-down effect of what they’ve created.

That’s all well and good, but what about getting the computer out of their daughter’s room? Dianne Leonhardt says more than once that she can’t be with her daughter 24/7, which is true enough. But, ultimately, she and her husband can say where the computer goes, how it can be used and, worst case scenario, whether they’ll make future broadband payments.
By no means is this the Leonhardt family’s fault — this kind of harassment isn’t legal. They are victims. But they don’t have to fight back on YouTube. They don’t have to share their personal anguish and fear with the world wide web.
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