PARENTS worldwide fear for the safety of their children – especially when it comes to social media.
This week, the family of a Cavan The teen who died by suicide has spoken out about the torment he endured at the hands of bullies.
Eden Heaslip, 18, has been relentlessly targeted by yobs, who will force him to put his head down in the “dirtiest toilet” they can find.
He took his own life on September 20, 2021 – just two weeks after his birthday – after years of horrific abuse.
Four months after his death, his parents Raymond and Maggie tell RTE’s Prime Time How they were devastated by his suicide and that their lives will never be the same.
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The show made viewers all over the country reel. Writing in the Irish Sun on Sunday, Senator Fine Gael JOHN McGAHON, said the show should be shown in schools as part of our efforts to eliminate this burning problem among young people.
ONE person’s joke is another’s pain according to Maggie Heaslip, mother of Eden Heaslip, an 18-year-old from Co Cavan who died by suicide as a result of being bullied over the years.
During the week, RTE’s Prime Time covered Eden’s tragic death.
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He is described as a young, cheerful guy with a real passion for the GAA and cars. When he died, he was in the process of becoming a mech-anic, a long-cherished ambition.
However, underneath that happy exterior, Eden is suffering from years of bullying.
His parents Raymond and Maggie, along with siblings Chloe and Finn, told painfully about the impact bullying had on Eden and the dire consequences for the families of those bullied. .
Before the age of social media, typical school bullying might have stopped by 4pm.
THEIR ‘TOXIC’ POST
It’s true that the feeling will follow you home after the school bell rings, but the verbal and physical bullying will be gone.
Now, thanks to social media, bullies can follow you home and into places that were previously safe spaces, such as your bedroom, living room or kitchen.
Eden’s family describes how teenagers set up accounts to abuse Eden, some of them disguised on the accounts as girls trying to talk to him, when in reality they are the guys. Bullying has tormented him before.
As Eden’s mother said, they will post their poison and then delete the account.
CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN LAUNCHED
Bullying has an impact on many levels, whether it’s in person or online. Fear is permanent, and it can leave a lasting mark on a person’s heart.
Given the natural immaturity of teenagers, I wonder if they really realize the consequences of being bullied and abused? Do they really realize that what some people call ‘a bit of madness’ can actually be an extremely hurtful and upsetting act to others?
The Heaslip family launched a campaign called ‘Be buddies not bullies’ and have raised a substantial amount of money.
In addition, the State should also play a stronger role in reducing and trying to eliminate bullying in our classrooms.
With that in mind, Eden’s tragic death must not have been in vain. Unfortunately, we have to show children and young people the terrible consequences of bullying.
Showing this Prime Time feature in schools will really help get that message across.
SOCIAL COMPANIES HAVE FAILED
Some schools may decide to do this on their own, but I am also writing to Education Minister Norma Foley asking that schools should show the program during school hours for the appropriate age groups.
Advances in social media are moving at breakneck speed. Governments are slow to understand the complexity. Social media companies have failed and will continue to fail to regulate themselves.
Fine Gael has prioritized legislation to regulate social media in this area.
In Ireland, the impending Coco Law and Online Safety Bill and the new Online Safety Commissioner it will create are just some of the steps we are taking to tackle online abuse.
In the meantime, we must do everything we can to get the message home to young people about mental health and caring for one another.
Watching a Prime Time special featuring the Heaslip family will leave them in doubt about the terrible consequences of bullying.
https://www.thesun.ie/news/8247834/horror-eden-heaslip-suicid-time-tackle-bullying-parents-fear/ Cavan teen suicide thriller Eden Heaslip shows it’s time to tackle bullying as parents fear for their children’s safety