Facebook Bullying Seen as Culprit in Teen's Suicide

Davidel Mizrachi, a student in the Space and Aeronautics school in Maaleh Adumim, was found hanging in his parents' bathroom on noon Tuesday.

The Maaleh Adumim police are investigating whether the suicide of a 16-year-old boy on Tuesday came as a result of cyber-bullying over social networking site Facebook.

Davidel Mizrachi, a student in the Space and Aeronautics school in the city, was found hanging in his parents' bathroom on noon Tuesday. The death was ruled a suicide with no suspicion of foul play.

suicide - Courtesy Channel 2 - January 6 2011
Courtesy Channel 2

After Mizrachi was buried, rumors began circulating that Mizarchi was a victim of bullying, both at school and over the internet.

Most of the messages on his Facebook wall have been erased since his suicide, said Orna Makov's of the city's emergency services.

A preliminary investigation found that Mizrachi was in the middle of chatting with someone via Facebook when he committed suicide, but as he was home alone, the exact sequence of events remains unclear.

Friends and teachers said yesterday he never expressed suicidal tendencies before, was not receiving psychological or psychiatric treatment, and no one appears to have known of his intention to take his own life. Police are currently searching for information on people who did know of any such intent and failed to report it, and for people who may have encouraged the boy to take his life.

Mizrachi's parents told Channel 2 News yesterday the boy did not integrate with his peers because of his short stature.

"I tried telling him many people were famous and successful even if they short, but it drove him crazy that people were taunting him," the mother said. "We had to see a doctor before school yesterday, and then he let it out a bit, he said they mock him and imitate him and laugh about how he stares."

"Only in the evening I saw how they belittled him on Facebook, but my kids erased most of the comments before I could take a look."

After his death, Mizrachi's Facebook wall became an improvised online shrine, with many of the commenters reflecting on the bullies at school. "You were a victim of kids without mercy, who don't understand the consequences of their actions," one girl wrote. "And they've already started paying dearly - because the kind of guilt they now carry is unbearable."

Zvia Elgali, a social media specialist who advises the Israel Internet Association, said there was no magic solution to prevent such incidents from happening.

"I think the emphasis should be place somewhere else ... educating kids to be more caring. I see kids being abused over the Internet and there's an entire crowd of children around them keeping quiet. This is the place where we need to wake up."