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Experts suggest warning highschool students against online suicides communities

20 сентября 2013, 21:12

Kazakhstan is poised to add a Internet safety course in the school curriculum. The classes will teach the students to stay away from websites promoting suicides and other illegal or dangerous things, head of the Department for Countering Illegal Content of Kazakhstan Internet Association Aleksandra Chernyavskaya told Tengrinews.kz.

The expert believes it necessary to arrange classes for parents and teachers to raise their awareness of the threats of the Internet. “They should be able to identify signs that signal that a child is interested in suicides. Just like it is done in the international practice, computer classes have to include lessons of Internet safety to make children aware of the content they can run into on the Internet and prepared to counter it,” Chernyavskaya said.

Besides, the speaker advises administrators and moderator of Kazakhstan-based social networks to pay more attention to illegal content and dangerous posts and online communities. “They have to be more active in countering content like promotion of suicides, violence, terrorism, etc. Kazakhstan based social networks should have contact information of the organizations that uses can report the content to, in case they run into it while surfing through the Internet,” the expert added.

Chernyavskaya believes that the country is not paying enough attention to the internet environment and its influence on the minds. And the websites promoting suicides can pose a real threat to our young citizens as they as used as a platform for like-minded people to get together and communicate.

“If a healthy and stable child enters this kind of website, he or she will not commit suicide. I am talking about those who think about it and purposefully look for such websites. A child normally finds it hard to find a person in the real life to talk to about suicide. But on the Internet he or she can visit the websites or popular social network groups and start or join a discussion of his or her intentions with people who think alike. This way he or she is encouraged to commit a suicide instead of being discouraged: somebody suggests to be his partner in a suicide or offer a better idea of how to to do it. This this case intentions and thoughts can become actions,” Chernyavskaya said.

Parents have to be more attentive and shrewd about their children's Internet friends. Kazakhstan Internet Association has a hotline that for alerts of dangerous or illegal content. After receiving a notification the Association’s personnel process the messages, pass them over to the law-enforcement authorities and contacts the Internet providers.

Chernyavskaya believes that suicide is a complex problem with the cause laying in no one factor. “Our everyday reality has a lot to do with it. Children spend less time with friends of their age in real life, spend less time outside. Walling off from the society and inwardness may also have their effect. Parents spend a lot of time at work these days. And it happens sometimes that children have no place and no one to come to with their problems, so they search for support on the Internet,” the expert added.

Mass media also has some negative effect on the suicides problem in Kazakhstan, the expert believes. “The way they discuss suicides: they make stars out of those who commit suicides. Fame is frequently attractive. When the media makes reports on suicides, they have to be more careful how they present them,” Chernyavskaya said.

According to the National Center for Healthy Lifestyle, Kazakhstan is ranked 9th in the world by the number of suicides among teenagers. Young people aged 15 to 23 are more prone to suicides. The number of suicides is going down in the cities and growing in the rural areas. According to the Kazakhstan Statistics Agency, 3,433 people, including 1,175 children and teenagers, committed suicides in Kazakhstan in 2011, and 3,617 cases of suicides were registered in 2010.

“Children suicides are mainly related to consumption of alcohol and drugs in their neighborhoods. This problem needs a more systematic approach. In 80 percent of the cases it turns out that the child had a psychological pathology that was not diagnosed in time.

"In cases of emotional distress young people often resort to abuse of psychoactive substances as a way to heal themselves. Unfortunately, only 1 percent of the patients get noticed by the psychiatrists and receive a timely aide,” the head of the Department for Prevention of Socially Significant Diseases of the National Center for Healthy Lifestyle Lyudmila Shumilina said.

The experts advise the parents to be more attentive to their children and take time and care to understand their problems and concerns. “No sane adult will think of leaving an infant without any attention, but we frequently forget that teenagers also need our love, reasonable care and attention,” the expert added.

Tengrinews has repeatedly reported about the strange wave of suicides distorting Kazakhstan. Most of the suicides were committed by young people, mostly high-school students. All of them were committed by jumping off high places. Some of the suicides were double suicides and involved couples holding hands during the jump.

The first double suicide of this series happened on May 28 when two teenagers jumped off a roof of a 12-storey building in Almaty. People who knew the jumpers said that they were planning the suicide and were part of an internet community of young suiciders.

A similar episode happened in the morning of June 11 in Temirtau town in Karaganda oblast when a couple jumped off a window of their fifth floor apartment. Later the same day a young married couple jumped off a fifth floor balcony of a multi-storey building in Aksu. The series continued on June 12 with a suicide of a 15-y.o. girl.

On June 7 a 19-y.o. student from Uralsk hung herself allegedly because of poor results of a university exams in the university. A young woman jumped off a window on the 5th floor after a fight with her husband in Taldykorgan on June 12. The next day a citizen of Ust-Kamenogorsk set himself on fire and jumped off a window of the 9th floor for unidentified reasons. On June 13 two young people attempted to jump off a roof of a 10-storey building in Pavlodar.

On June 17 a student of the 9th grade of Almaty school has jumped off the attic floor of a 5-storey building in Almaty. During investigation of the case it was found that the girl had been strangely interested in the suicide subject during some: she was adding and reposing statements about death, murders and suicides on her wall in social networks. She was a member of a group that was allegedly organized to help people get rid of thoughts about suicide. However, it seems just possible that the groups description was a cover for something absolutely different, as the community’s moderator -- a young lady -- had “Sometimes you want to die just to see what happens after” as title phrase in her status.

Some psychologists believe that a state of emergency should be declared in Kazakhstan over the recent surge of suicides in the country.

The most recent wave of suicides shook the western city of Aktau last week when four people committed suicide by jumping off their windows in the neighboring multi-storey buildings.

Photo courtesy of kp.ru

Photo courtesy of kp.ru

By Vladimir Prokopenko

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