I’ve been following the news story about the guy who committed suicide over the Internet watched by various people in a chat room that didn’t take what was going on seriously. Apparently the guy in question had repeatedly cried wolf and the forum members were fed up with his suicide related posts… anyway, it seems that the media are putting a lot of blame on the forum users and the host server for the chat room; in fact, there were two comments on the Times article that may have hurt my brain:
What is happening to our society? It seems that the internet allows many weird individuals to gain acceptance for their anti-societal behaviours. Where does this all end? People, spend more time with your kids, and teach them right from wrong, as they are the only salvation from this abomination.
As a mother I’ve seen that some kids are born more prone to self esteem problems than others, even if you treat them all equally well. I wish his parents had confronted his issue early on. I took my own son’s computer away after I saw him commit pseudo-suicide by nuclear bomb in an online game.
It’s mentioned in the article that the guy suffered from bipolar and was taking medication in order to help manage the symptoms. There needs to be more understanding shown towards mental health, we need campaigns and education to raise more awareness so that perhaps peoples first response when hearing about something like this is not to go blame the internet, video games or the lack of religion (it amazes me that it’s assumed that religion will cure everything).
I worry that this issue is going to get worse with legal intervention towards censorship or even mass moderation of free speech mediums such as forums and chat rooms. There needs to be places for us ‘weird individuals’, where as could you go to discuss Star Trek with likeminded people or even take part in an discussion about fictional characters as if they were real? Sometimes when you’ve hit that down part of your cycle it’s the only things stopping you from doing something that doesn’t really benefit anyone in the long run.
I suggest everyone goes and watches ‘The Bridge’, it’s a moving and thought provoking documentary about suicide, that talks to the families of people who have chosen to end their life. There’s no annoying voice over or moral judgements forced upon you.