Mum’s letter urging all to stand up to bullying following son’s suicide

The impact of bullying on and offline can be devastating and following the tragic loss of her son, Lucy Alexander wrote an open letter to parents, teachers and children to do everything they can to stamp out cyberbullying.

Lucy Alexander’s open letter:

On April 27th 2016 our beautiful 17-year-old son took his own life. He decided to do this because he could not see any way to be happy.

His confidence and self-esteem had been eroded over a long period of time by the bullying behaviour he experienced in secondary education.

It began with unkindness and social isolation and over the years with the advent of social media it became cruel and overwhelming.

People who had never even met Felix were abusing him over social media.

He found that he was unable to make and keep friends as it was difficult to befriend the most ‘hated’ boy in the school.

His schoolwork suffered and he found school a daily struggle

He changed schools for sixth form, something he would not contemplate before, as even though he was miserable he was also terrified of the unknown and was sure that because he felt he was so worthless, another school would make no difference.

He did make friends at his new school and the teaching staff found him to be bright, kind and caring.

He was however so badly damaged by the abuse, isolation and unkindness he had experienced that he was unable to see just how many people truly cared for him.

It began with unkindness and social isolation and over the years with the advent of social media it became cruel and overwhelming.

People who had never even met Felix were abusing him over social media

He found that he was unable to make and keep friends as it was difficult to befriend the most ‘hated’ boy in the school.

I write this letter not for sympathy, but because there are so many more children like Felix who are struggling and we need to wake up to the cruel world we are living in.

I am appealing to children to be kind ALWAYS and never stand by and leave bullying unreported.

Be that one person prepared to stand up to unkindness. You will never regret being a good friend

I have been told that ‘everyone says things they don’t mean on social media’.

Unkindness is dismissed as ‘banter’ and because they cannot see the effect of their words they do not believe there is one.

A quote I saw on Facebook recently resonated with me and I think is worth thinking about before posting anything on social media.

Our children need to understand that actions have consequences and that people are wounded, sometimes fatally by these so called ‘keyboard warriors’.

Not all children participate in online abuse, but they may be guilty of enabling others to do it.

They do this by not reporting it, by not supporting or befriending the child being abused, which just validates the bully’s behaviour.

I appeal to teachers to look out for signs that children are struggling

Poor grades or poor behaviour may signal a child crying out for help.

This is the way young people communicate now and many are actually are losing the ability to communicate effectively face to face.

On several occasions we removed all form of social media from Felix as it was causing so much distress, but that just isolated him further and he felt that it was a punishment and not a protection.

Look at your children’s Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google chat and Facebook.

Help them understand that if they are writing or posting something that they would not want you to read then they should not be doing it. Help them self-edit before they post.

What are they watching online in their bedrooms? Children are witnessing a warped form of reality as violence and pornography are being ‘normalised” by their ease of access.

We have a collective responsibility to prevent other young lives being lost to unkindness and bullying.

You may see that I have repeatedly used one word in this letter and I make no apology for this.

The word is kindness. I said this at our son’s funeral. Please be kind always, for you never know what is in someone’s heart or mind.  

Our lives have been irrevocably damaged by the loss of our wonderful son; please don’t let it happen to any other family.

See more parent stories

Additional information

Visit our cyberbullying pages to learn how you can prepare your child to deal with cyberbullying should it happen to them.

 

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