Words can kill: teen hangs herself after being cyberbullied
February 25th 2017: On February 23rd on the British show This Morning a tragic story of cyberbullying was reported with a touching interview with Nicola Harteveld, the mom of a 14 years old teen who took her own life on February 7th.
Megan Evans from Milford Haven was a vivacious, outgoing, sporty, and popular 14 year old who had been the victim of cyberbullying for some time on social media, especially Snapchat. She was relentlessly cyberbullied by a group of peers and in particular one girl, about her relationship with her first boyfriend. The last message she received was “Why don’t you hang yourself?” To which Megan replied saying: “Ok.”
Nicola Harteveld, who appreared on the show alongside anti bullying campaigner Lucy Alexander, who also lost her son to bullying, explained that there were no obvious signs that Megan was being bullied and that family life seemed to proceed normally. Thus, her message to families was to pay very close attention to young children and teens and to often ask if everything is ok, to encourage them to open up.
Lucy Alexander pointed out that kids are often cruel to each other, as being cool is more popular than being kind. She continued by saying that kids don’t think about the consequences of their actions or words. Detachment from the consequences is even stronger on social media as they are not face to face with their victims. Mrs. Alexander concluded the interview encouraging popular kids to help turn the tide of cyberbullying by standing up and saying something when they see something cruel being said on social media. Everybody should be aware that one cruel message could actually be the 20th message one receives and could be enough to tip the scale.
Someone taking their own life for being cyberbullied has devastating consequences for everybody involved including the bully and their family.
Anne Twist, mom of Harry Styles, commented on This Morning’s story on Twitter by encouraging to be kind, not cool.