A grieving mother has appeared on This Morning to talk about the open letter she wrote to her son’s bullies, in a bid to educate children on the value of kindness after her son committed suicide earlier this year.
Felix Alexander, 17, took his own life in April after seven years of bullying became too much. Now, his mother Lucy has written an open letter to explain what he went through and the dangers of cyberbullying.
Appearing on This Morning, Lucy, 51, spoke about why she felt the need to write the letter, addressing children and parents alike, ‘I desperately need to raise awareness. I desperately need people to talk about this.’
‘It’s really simple. Just be kind. It’s a thing that I think we’re missing in out teaching, in our talking. It’s very cool to be snappy and hip with the banter but not to be kind.’
Felix attended a prestigious public school which caters for boys and girls of ages 2-18 years, and his bullying started back in 2009 at the age of 10. Lucy describes how initially he was mocked for not having the video game Call of Duty and called a ‘pussy’ by class mates.
She describes how this taunting gained momentum until Felix was unable to make friends as he was known as the most ‘hated’ boy in school, suffering from social isolation and cruelness from other children.
Lucy sees social media as a huge part of the problem as many different platforms were used to emotionally abuse Felix, ‘Group chats can be a particular problem and they can disintegrate into hate fests very easily.’
Although Felix’s family tried to move schools and even cities to get away from the bullies they found that his confidence and self esteem had become so low that he was ‘terrified of the unknown and was sure that because he felt he was so worthless, another school would make no difference’.
Unfortunately, when Felix did move schools for sixth form, a positive start in making new friends and good reports from teachers soon turned sour as Felix’s insecurities set in and online trolls continued to hound him.
Felix took his own life on the morning of 27th April after telling his parents he was boarding the school bus. Devastatingly, he instead travelled to a local train station, was hit by an oncoming train and killed instantly.
Now, Lucy’s main aim is to educate both children and parents that words said over social media have huge consequences and the importance of monitoring what children are doing online.
Lucy, who also has an older son and daughter, says, ‘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.’
She has urged parents to check what their children are watching online and to be aware of how the perceptions of young people are changing because of the unfiltered exposure that they now have through the internet.
Speaking to This Morning presenters Holly and Phil, Lucy said, ‘I wish I’d talked more I wish I’d shouted form the rooftops what was happening and make people listen and pay attention’ and now hopes to stop other children being bullied in this way.