Julia was a teenage girl who just wanted to be loved and accepted, but after being bullied online, she tried to hang herself.
Adrian Derbyshire, her father, said it all began when she talked about sexuality. He shared Julia’s photos to raise awareness about cyberbullying and its detrimental effects. Julia died at the age of 16.
Last week, Derbyshire put roses on Julia’s grave to celebrate her 18th birthday. He called for more education about cyberbullying in schools.
“I would never want other parents to experience what I’ve been through”, he told the BBC. He began a campaign after the death of his daughter dubbed ‘Sassy’ to mobilize support against self-harm and suicide.
Derbyshire was interviewed on the ‘Today’ program with the BBC Radio 4. Julia lived in Missouri, USA, and the bullying began when she was only 13. She told a friend about her sexuality. However, instead of keeping it in secret as a friend, she shared it with the entire school.
Julia had undergone psychological and physical bullying online and only moved to the UK to live with her dad when she was 14. She was affected mentally and even tried to go back to the sites where she was bullied to convince her bullies that she wasn’t a bad person and was just looking for love and acceptance.
After a suicide attempt, Julia died five days later in October 2015 at the age of 16. A narrative verdict was recorded by Coroners to investigate her death.
Over the last couple of years, Derbyshire has spoken to at least 200,000 children, raising awareness about his experience and cyberbullying in general.
He posted photos of what Julia’s birthday would be to spread the word against ignorance about cyberbullying. However, he admitted that exposing his daughter’s photos was a tough decision he had to make.
Cyberbullying is a type of bullying that takes place online. A kid uses an electronic device (smartphone, tablet, PC) to access communication tools, such as chat, text, messaging apps and social networking sites. The bullies use these tools to send mean texts and spread rumors.
Cyberbullies may be well known people or strangers.
Kids don’t tell their parents when they are cyberbullied. Therefore, parents need to watch out for signs and warnings. Parents can also track their kids’ messages using mSpy parental control app. mSpy is compatible with Android, IOS, PC and Mac OS.
Possible signs include calls’ withdrawal after using social network sites, requesting that their social media or online accounts be switched off or blocking of certain numbers or IDs from their phones, social media accounts or emails.
If you suspect that your kid is being bullied or you’ve tracked their messages and found out it, take up a conversation with them. Be gentle and show support to encourage your child to open up about what’s really happening. Parents should intervene in time to help with suicidal thoughts if the kid is already hit by this aggressive behavior. This is where mSpy comes especially in handy.
The way you respond to cyberbullying is important. If your child is being bullied, talk to them and let them know you’re there to help not just as a parent, but also as a friend. If they can’t open up, ask them to speak to someone they trust, such as your spouse, teachers, trusted adults or even a good friend.
You can talk to your kid about cyberbullying even before it occurs and let them know what they should do if ever they get bullied. Keeping it in a secret can never be a solution. Kids being bullied should cease responding to cyber bullies because when they do not get any response from their victims, they eventually give up and go away.
Another way out is to block the cyberbullies from contacting your child. If the cyberbullies cannot reach their victims, they are not able to bully anyone.
The mSpy parental control app tracks kids’ messaging and calls to help you know what they’re sharing with others online. The app features geofencing and GPS location to help you monitor your kids even when they aren’t at home.
Contact us for more information if you’re still not sure about dealing with cyber bullying.