A tragic teen double-suicide case in Australia underscores the importance of loved ones and caregivers monitoring what at-risk youth say in their online profiles and blogs. Two 16-year-old girls in the Melbourne area apparently killed themselves in a suicide pact, posting “their own death notice – a farewell message to their online friends” in MySpace, The Star in Malaysia reports. The Star reporter seems to be making the assumption that “the idea of suicide emerged from the Internet,” but I don’t think the posting of a farewell message in a social site profile necessarily indicates this was where the girls’ suicidal tendencies got started. Profiles and blogs are, however, the first places parents should check for what kids are really thinking if the latter are acting strangely at home. “The likelihood of a ‘depressed, disaffected and disaffiliated’ young person communicating with a soulmate online is a sure thing,” The Star cites an Australian professor as saying. And there is certainly the possibility that at-risk people are getting the wrong kind of reinforcement online, such as sympathy or even promotion of destructive behavior from other people with mental health issues.
Leave a Reply