THE HEARTBROKEN mother of a former Pershore High School pupil who tragically took his own life has shared her son’s story in a bid to raise awareness of the devastating consequences of cyber bullying.
Lucy Alexander, whose son Felix died in April last year, shares her son’s tragic story in a powerful short film released as part of West Mercia Police’s campaign against cyber bullying and online harassment which launches next week.
Felix was just 17-years-old when he was hit by a train at Norton, near Worcester, on Wednesday, April 27 2016. Worcestershire coroner Geraint Williams recorded a verdict of suicide after an inquest into Felix’s death.
Following his death, Lucy penned an emotional open letter in which she told how Felix was dubbed the ‘most hated boy in school’ and the abuse her son was subjected to online before his death was ‘cruel and overwhelming.’
Lucy also launched a mental health awareness campaign, called Felix’s Campaign for Kindness, in her son’s memory to prevent more young lives being lost as a result of cyber bullying.
The grieving mum has now joined with West Mercia Police as part of their campaign to shine a light on the devastating consequences of cyber bullying and online harassment.
Every year a large number of young people and their families are affected by online abuse. 79 per cent of young people asked by charity BullyingUK have seen somebody harassed or bullied online.
In the emotional video, Lucy described the torrent of ‘nastiness’ her son was subjected to online.
“Initially he started having trouble at school,” she said.
“It was more isolation and exclusion more than anything else. It became more of an issue when he went to senior school and the isolation became more severe and then the social media started.
“There was a site back in the day where people could make anonymous comments or ask anonymous questions about someone and Felix got a huge amount of really negative stuff said about him.
“He didn’t actually have his own computer or anything at that stage, but when you know things are being said about you you’re very keen to find it and he looked for it.
“When he was about 13 or 14 Felix was in a really bad place. He was really struggling to cope.
“He was getting a huge amount of negative comments from people. It was from people he knew, people he didn’t know. He was called black rat, ugly and that he was worthless and everybody hated him. It was just general nastiness.
“They didn’t understand or think through the consequences of what they said or did. Everyday he had something from someone.
Lucy has also offered advice to parents to make sure they never have to go through what she did.
“From the moment you give your child a phone you need to have a conversation running with them all the time, what they’re doing, who they’re doing it with and what platforms they are using,” she added.
“Help them understand and it will help you understand how they function and work.
“There is support within social media platforms as well.
“Become familiar with it and understand how they work and see how they can help you with a particular problem. Report it, always report it and don’t let it go by. Evidence it if you can, take screenshots, talk to your local police – this is something that never occurred to me when Felix was young.
“I didn’t really release that anyone could help me and advise me.”