Mother Who Lost Her Son Inspires The Duke Of Cambridge To Take An Action Against Cyberbullying
According to research done by anti-bullying charity, Ditch The Label, 1 in 2 people experiences bullying at some point before their 20th birthday.
It’s safe to say that bullying has been around for quite some time and is very rampant. However, in recent times, with the advent of social media, bullying has taken on a new stage.
Bullying on the playground can be easily stopped by attentive teachers and students working together; however, this new form of bullying, known as cyberbullying, can be really difficult to check mainly because of the one-to-one communication style of social media.
And most recently, cyberbullying has led to 17-year-old Felix Alexander’s suicide.
The sad case of Felix Alexander
Beneath the scruffy hair, cute face, and charming smile, Felix was aching.
His mother, Lucy Alexander, reported that he had been bullied since he turned 10 after he was teased over not being allowed to play the video game, "Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 2." He changed schools, but cyberbullying followed him everywhere.
People who didn’t even know him were abusing him, and over time, Felix became isolated and frustrated. This would eventually result in him taking his life by stepping in front of a moving train on April, 2017.
The open letter that inspired royalty to action
Lucy Alexander, the mother of Felix, wrote an open letter to the public, published in the Worcester News, to draw attention to the effects of cyberbullying.
She explained how it had affected Felix, making him feel socially isolated. She said that her boy was,
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.
In the letter, Alexander said she was not writing for sympathy but for the sake of other children who were also being bullied.
And it’s not hard to see why she wrote the letter. If left unchecked, cyberbullying would continue to cause more suicides among young people. However, the Duke of Cambridge has something to say about it.
The Duke’s plan to combat cyberbullying
Lucy Alexander’s open letter caught the attention of Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge.
Felix’s touching story piqued his interest and the problem of cyberbullying became a passion project for him. He partnered with social media giants, such as Facebook and Snapchat, and launched a guide for children on how to cope with a "banter escalation scenario" to help combat cyberbullying.
This project brings together organizations, such as broadband companies, Apple, Facebook, Google, Snapchat, and Twitter, work with the NSPCC and Diana Award to announce a code of conduct for the internet, urging young people to "stop, speak, support."
It asks young people to stop and consider what the situation is before joining in negative activity online, speak to an adult, report about any abuse if they are concerned, and offer support to an individual being targeted.
This project sees the UK become the first country to take a stand, make a plan of action to tackle cyberbullying, and come up with a national code of conduct for the internet.
Ahead of the launch, in a video filmed to put a spotlight on the project, Lucy Alexander told William about her son, Felix. She said:
Social media was his life, … It was the way everyone communicated, and if you weren’t on it, you were isolated. If he was invited to a party, someone would text saying: ‘You don’t want to invite him. Everyone hates him’. And all he saw was negative. He saw himself as stupid and ugly. It just ate away at him inside, I think, but I had no idea of the depth of his despair at all.
In the same breath though, she said she feels called to a higher assignment in life with this turn of event.
Also, Chloe Hines, a campaigner and member of the Taskforce Youth panel, who was a victim of cyberbullying, shared her experience. She explained that she began to self-harm in order to deal with how she felt. She, however, found relief in songwriting, saying:
It was songwriting that made me realize that my life was worth living.
The Duke of Cambridge also drew attention to the dangers of cyberbullying – its anonymity and the fact that it is tough to detect and curb, unlike bullying on a regular playground.
It’s great to see Prince William as well as the entire UK taking a step to end this menace. It’s our hope that other countries follow their worthy example.