An anti-bullying petition launched in the name of 14 year old schoolgirl, Izzy Dix, has achieved its target of 100,000 signatures, four months after it was started in the wake of her suicide in September.
Izzy was found hanged by her mother at her house in Brixham, Devon, on the night of Tuesday 17th September 2013. She had been bullied, both at school and online.
The petition on Change.org calls for the closure of the website Ask.fm – a social media website used predominantly by teenagers. This Latvian-based site has over 70 million registered users worldwide, and has now been linked to the suicides of fourteen young people around the globe in a little over a year after they were reportedly bullied on there.
The site allows anyone to post anonymous questions and comments to a person’s profile and has been heavily criticised for its lack of monitoring and encouragement of cyberbullying.
Izzy’s mother, Gabbi Dix, says she has been moved by the enormous support she has received from the public: “I’d like to thank everyone who has signed the petition and who has supported our ‘Love for Izzy Dix’ anti-bullying campaign over the last four months. Unfortunately I can’t bring Izzy back, but I can try to raise awareness about the issues surrounding bullying and teen suicide so that other parents hopefully won’t have to go through the trauma I’m currently experiencing”.
Close family friend and Campaign Manager, Maddie Sinclair, says she is delighted with the achievement: “Regardless of what happens now, we believe we have already won. At least 100,000 more people out there are aware of the potential dangers of Ask.fm, and that’s got to be a good thing. Hopefully parents all around the UK are speaking more openly with their teens about what they are doing online. Education about bullying, both at home and at school, is key to making our young people feel safe and supported”.
Now that the 100,000 target has been reached, Gabbi says she plans to discuss her concerns with the government: “I will be meeting my MP, Sarah Wollaston, at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster in early February to talk about our next steps. Our campaign covers much more than just Ask.fm – we want to open a dialogue with David Cameron to discuss issues such as government intervention to keep children safe online, the accountability of social media networks, better education programmes in schools, more support programmes for victims and bullies, increased parental awareness and responsibility, and the need for the police and schools to treat bullying more seriously”.