THE relative of a tragic Neilston schoolboy has made a passionate plea for parents to help tackle the scourge of cyber-bullying and prevent other lives being lost.

The loss of 13-year-old Ben McKenzie was a devastating shock for family, friends and the wider community.

The Eastwood High School pupil was found dead at his home in Luckiesfauld, Neilston, earlier this month.

And last night, following weeks of tributes and mourning, his father's cousin Linda McKenzie Arnott took to social media to call for more to be done to protect children from cyber-bullying.

In an emotional post beneath a picture of Ben, she said: "A lot has been said in the past few days about just how sorry people are to hear about Ben and how they wish they could help my cousin and his family to try to come to terms with their reality. Because their reality is harsh, unjust, bleak, bitterly unfair and downright soul destroying.

"It’s up to us to make sure that we raise compassionate children, children who can confidently call b******* on the bullies, children who feel empowered enough to speak up - for themselves and others - and it starts with us.

"So, yes, in the midst of the senselessness and the utter devastation that is the present, you can do something. 

"You can talk to your children, educate them; talk about the internet and the personas people adopt, the truth and the lies purported, the faceless, shameless little b******* that sit behind a keyboard and use words that push a child beyond human endurance at the age of just 13.

"Let them know that this is not real life, what is being said will never define them and will always say more about these horrible people than it ever will say about your child.

"Encourage your child to have a confidante, and suck it up if that person isn’t you. Be open enough to go through their mobiles/tablets/laptops and check up on what they’re doing and saying on Social Media. 

"Be a ‘helicopter parent,’ and come down hard if there’s any sign that your child might be making another child feel crappy - maybe to the point that he/she can no longer stomach this life.

"Children are dying. Because they are being bullied by keyboard warriors who have a blatant disregard for other kids’ feelings. 

"It’s not about toughening our children up, it’s about raising them better, so that being a bully in the first place is not an option."

In a challenge to parents who assume no child of theirs could ever be a bully, she wrote: "It never is until it is, and you and your child have that on your conscience for ever more and another family are where my cousin and his family are now. That’s how serious it is.

"Sticks and stones may break their bones, but words are killing them. It starts with us."

Within hours of going online, the post has already been shared hundreds of times, receiving dozens of supportive comments.

In the weeks following Ben's death, friends of the family have set up a charity collection in his name for Beautiful Inside & Out (SCIO), a Scottish registered charity, supporting bereaved parents and siblings of suicide victims.

To support the fund, visit its Just Giving page