Family of teen who committed suicide raising awareness against cyber-bullying

Family of teen who committed suicide raising awareness against cyber-bullying
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - In 2016, suicide replaced homicide as the second-leading cause of teenage deaths according to the CDC. One of the reasons for this disturbing trend is cyber-bullying.

But with every statistic, there is a heartbreaking story.

Luken Boyle, 14, took his own life after being bullied on social media.

"One of the kindest people you would ever meet," said Luken's uncle Bill Boyle. "He was only 14-years-old, and he was by far the best person I knew."

Luken was set to begin his freshman year at Central Catholic High School. He was an older brother and loyal friend.

Tuesday night, Luken's family and friends gathered at Blessed Sacrament Church to pray and grieve together.

"The out pour was just unbelievable as a family," Bill Boyle said. "We love Luke, and we are praying for him. And we know he is upstairs looking down on us."

While Luken's family is mourning his loss, they are working to ensure other parents do not have to suffer their pain.

Bill Geha, a counselor and founder of the anti-bullying Peace Project, created a course for parents called the Parent Project. The project aims to help parents to become proactive when it comes to their kids' social media exposure.

Geha says parents need to take full control of their children's phones and laptops and check in often.

"They say, 'Here are the rules and this is how it goes. Your phone is our phone. And because there are bad people out there who do inappropriate things, we are going to be checking and we wont ask you for permission,'" Geha explained.

Professionals with both projects will speak at schools and other organizations free of charge to prevent cyber bullying.

Geha says their most important lesson to parents is if they think their child is being bullied, take immediate action.

"Parents can't be afraid to reach out for help," Geha said. "It can happen anywhere at any time to good families."

To contact the parent project, call 419-824-8552.

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