Thursday 27 July 2017

Mum says son hounded to death by trolls because he didn't play 'Call of Duty'

Lucy Alexander with her son Felix
Lucy Alexander with her son Felix
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A grieving mum has written a heartbreaking open letter to the bullies who drove her son to suicide - after he was teased because he was not allowed to play Call of Duty.

Public schoolboy Felix Alexander, 17, died under the wheels of a train earlier this year after suffering seven years of abuse.

Felix Alexander, who took his own life after being bullied on social media
Felix Alexander, who took his own life after being bullied on social media

The teenager told his parents he was getting the bus to school but instead went to the railway tracks and stepped in front of an oncoming train.

He was killed instantly when he was struck at Abbotswood Junction, Norton, near his home in Worcester, at 9am on April 27 this year.

An inquest concluded Felix had committed suicide after suffering years of bullying, firstly in the playground and then by online trolls.

One website he was targeted on was Ask.fm, which has been linked to seven teenage suicides.

His bullying began in 2009 following a playground argument about violent video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

The 18-rated game had just been released but Felix, then aged ten, was branded a "pussy" by classmates at school in Worcester after he admitted his parents had banned him from playing it.

Felix moved to a different school last September but the bullying continued until he was unable to cope any longer.

His mother Lucy, 51, has now written an open letter to her son's bullies, as well as to schools and parents, explaining the torment Felix suffered.

It says: "I write this letter not for sympathy, but because there are so many more children like Felix who are struggling.

"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.

"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."

Lucy, a sexual health nurse, who also has a daughter Charlotte, 22, and a son Ben, 21, said: "I wrote the letter as I want to educate our educators and to the bullies themselves so they can see the effect they have on the people they target.

"Teachers need to be aware of the dangers of bullying and I want more help to be available.

"I'm working with my son's high school to raise awareness there, in the hope that teachers can receive further training.

"He had been targeted for many, many years. It was generalised cruelty.

"He was known as the most hated person in the year at school.

"It started with social isolation when he was around ten. He didn't get invited to parties and wasn't included in weekend activities.

"Then the online abuse started when he was 14. It was initially via the website Ask.fm and then it escalated with basically every social media platform you could imagine.

"It all started when people kept asking him why he didn't have Call of Duty for the PlayStation.

"He was ten at the time, so why on earth would I let him play an 18-rated game that was full of violence?

"One child even called him a 'pussy' because he wasn't allowed to play it. It was really silly comments like that which started the whole thing.

"It spiralled from there and escalated into people who barely knew him joining in, and then he became Felix who everyone hated.

"The damage had already been done. He couldn't see a way to be happy.

"He saw a psychologist when he was ten because he was in a very dark place. The bullying was poisonous.

"He moved from his old school because he was very unhappy there and didn't get the grades he needed to get into sixth form.

"We don't like to think that our children could be responsible for being cruel to another child, but I have been shocked by the 'nice' kids who were responsible in part for Felix's anguish.

"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.

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