The tragedy of Phoebe Prince, a victim of cyberbullying, has been a hot topic among parents concerned about internet safety. When six students at Prince’s high school were charged as criminals for encouraging her suicide, it seemed like they were being made examples to prevent future cyberbullying. But more details have come out about Prince herself, and while it doesn’t vindicate her bullies, it does show that it wasn’t just the bullying that led her to hang herself.
According to an article by Emily Bazelon on Slate, “She was deeply troubled long before she ever met the six defendants. And her own behavior made other students understandably upset.” Prince had attempted suicide before and was regularly cutting herself — “on her chest above her bra and all the way down her hips.” She dated two seniors as a freshman. She was taking antidepressants.
These things don’t necessarily add up to the portrait of a suicide, but it reveals that there were other factors in Phoebe Prince’s life — perhaps factors far more serious than Facebook bullying — that led to her death.
What lessons can we learn from Phoebe Prince?