What role did the Internet play in suicides of two girls?

8 posts / 0 new
Last post
Andrew_Doan
Andrew_Doan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
OLG-Anon memberOLGA memberOutreach
Joined: 06/13/2011 - 9:37am
What role did the Internet play in suicides of two girls?

http://www.katu.com/news/investigators/What-role-did-the-Internet-play-i...

Isabelle Sarkinen (left) and Anna Ishikawa

BATTLE GROUND, Wash. - What role did the Internet play in pushing two young girls past the emotional tipping point and into taking their own lives?

KATU On Your Side Investigator Anna Canzano has learned that disturbing messages and online postings on two popular websites - Facebook and Instagram - preceded the deaths of Anna Ishikawa on January 12th and Isabelle Sarkinen on December 5th.

Both of the girls were 8th graders in the Battle Ground School District. Their deaths are not directly related, but the circumstances are similar.

Students who knew the two girls, along with school officials, have told KATU that online name-calling and other antagonistic or emotionally dark activity involving Anna and Isabelle had escalated in the weeks before their deaths.

That material, obtained during the course of our investigation, includes images directly related to suicide.

The Battle Ground community is still reeling from the deaths of five students who took their own lives between February 2011 and July of last year. In 2011 at least five teens from across the Vancouver area committed suicide. Following the deaths of Anna and Isabelle, district officials have singled out the Internet as contributing to the tragedy.

The letter they sent home to parents about cyberbullying is a warning to all families; the text in its entirety is printed below. KATU is also providing web resources for parents and teens, aimed at suicide prevention.

We want to be clear that this story is not an effort to point fingers or assign blame for the deaths of these girls, but rather to share lessons that could help save young lives. The families of both girls are aware of our report and our intent in sharing it.

KATU On Your Side Investigator Anna Canzano has been looking into the circumstances of Anna and Isabelle's deaths and how online bullying can torment young people. You can watch her full report tonight on KATU News at 6.

Resources for youth:

  • Mind Your Mind: A non-profit dedicated to providing reliable information for youth dealing with depression, anxiety, and suicide. The site contains youth-specific resources, tips for coping with mental illness issues, and the personal stories of youth who have experienced and overcome these issues.
  • Reach Out: A website for youth, by youth, with information on how to help yourself or a friend who is thinking about suicide. Allows youth to share their stories about overcoming depression and suicide in an online, supportive environment.
  • We Can Help Us: A collection of videos made by real teens who have gone through a variety of different challenges and overcome them. Also allows other youth to share their own stories in a supportive environment.
  • The Trevor Project: A website dedicated to helping LGBTQ youth dealing with depression, anxiety, and suicide. Also operates a 24-hour crisis hotline, 1-866-4-U-TREVOR.
  • The Jed Foundation: A resource for college students containing information about depression and anxiety among college students, and information about how to get help at school.
  • Metanoia.org: An online resource that offers information about how to find and contact a therapist, and how to make sure your therapist is right for you. Also offers resources for connecting to a therapist online for 'e-therapy'.
  • Teen forum on suicide being held in Battle Ground

Resources for parents:

  • Association for Behavioral Cognitive Therapies: Offers information for parents about childhood mental health issues and advice on finding the best treatment for you and your family.
  • Lok-It-Up: A campaign to promote the safe storage of firearms. Offers advice on how to safely store firearms and prevent teen firearm suicide.
  • ASK Campaign: A website dedicated to gun safety. Information about firearm deaths and tips for preventing your children from gun violence.

Resources for Educators:

  • Evergreen Education Association: The Evergreen Education Association is holding a "Diversity and Social Justice Conference" in February with a session that will focus on suicide prevention.

Letter from principal at Chief Umtuch Middle School:

Dear Parents of Chief Students,

As you know the past week has been difficult at Chief. Our students have been dealing with some very heavy issues. Emotions have been high and many students have had to confront themselves and how they deal with others students. For many, relationships have been "on again, off again." A new word has even been coined: frenemy. This refers to a person who is your friend today, your enemy tomorrow, your friend the next day, and so on.

And here's what makes it worse: Facebook. Now I don't have a Facebook account, and I don't want to speak out of place. I'm sure some aspects of social networking have merit. But I also know what I observe each day in working with our children. For most, the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. Kids engage in petty disagreements and small problems become large; they lose a sense of what it means to be confidential; they spend far too much time doing something that adds almost nothing to their skills and abilities in becoming productive adults. And worst of all: they tend to be meaner when they type than when they talk face to face. In most cases, in my opinion, our kids when Facebooking, are developing poor habits that diminish their ability to form and maintain positive relationships.

As you might suspect, this has great impact on our school. Nearly all Facebooking by students is done outside school walls and outside school time. Yet it comes to us each day. Before we even begin our day, some students are upset with each other because of comments made late in the evening before - often in a "conversation" that didn't even involve them at the start. Sad.

So ... I want to challenge you. For the good of all our children, please monitor closely your kids' Facebook accounts. Limit their time; read their comments. For some, I'd even suggest closing their accounts altogether and going without. This would actually be my first choice. Hopefully the word frenemy will be short lived. May our kids learn to develop relationships where a friend today is a friend tomorrow. True, we face many challenges in helping our kids learn - not all our bad habits can be attributed to Facebook. But the challenge of controlling Facebook is immediate, and, if we succeed, the impact will be positive and great. Please, let's accept this challenge now.

-Dave Cresap
Principal
CMS

Andrew Doan MD PhD

My Videos: Internet gaming disorder is real & my story 

*The views expressed are of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the U.S. Navy or Department of Defense.

Patria
Patria's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
OLGA member
Joined: 06/02/2011 - 1:55am
And let's stop bullying in

And let's stop bullying in the school and on cyber space. Bullying is more prevalent in schools and network and that's a huge tragedy.

I got bullied as a kid. I was tall and skinny and wore glasses (before nerds were popular). If i'd grown up in a atmosphere like today I doubt I'd be living now.

And parents, too, who bully others, despicable. Watch any little league game or function where parents are watching their kids in sports.

Wow. life now can be so monstrous.

mommy3
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
OLG-Anon member
Joined: 01/14/2013 - 8:18am
Patria, my son was bullied

Patria, my son was bullied for the same reasons. I have to take him out of school for that and other problems relating to his intellectual abilites. It was extremely stressfull and painful for all of us. I'm sure this is one of the many reasons he turned to gaming as an escape. I'm so sorry you had to go through this and hope you've found peace.

Patria
Patria's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
OLGA member
Joined: 06/02/2011 - 1:55am
Hi Mommy3. Unfortunately

Hi Mommy3. Unfortunately bullying is worse now than it ever was. In fact bullying seems to be a national pastime for all ages, including parents and adults who should know better.

I am so sorry your son was bullied, and kudos to you for taking action and getting him out of there.

Unfortunately there is a lot of bullying on the internet, and in games, and one of the things I noticed in my game of choice: World of Warcraft, was the horrible amount of insidious bullying and heckling. It was despicable and I hated it. I truly hated it. Many times I had to stop playing just to go lie down and have a cry over some stupid person's bullying personality.

But, this isn't just games or schools, it's everywhere. Somehow our country, possibly other countries I don't know, but especially this one, we have become a rude, disrespectful society. Not everyone. But enough that it is noticed. And it's appalling.

JB629
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 3 months ago
OLGA member
Joined: 01/27/2014 - 12:02am
It's not only WoW.  League

It's not only WoW. League of Legends had one of the most toxic and disguisting communities you could imagine. "You should go kill yourself" Or "Do the world a favor and die. Nobody is gonna miss you," were phrases I saw pop up way to often. It's disguisting. Somehow despite all the awareness being brought to light in the media on bullying and its role in teen suicide, it seems to be just a bigger problem.

It's also crossed my mind that those who are spewing those phrases, are merely mimicking what they've experienced outside of the virtual world. Feeling like you're on top in a game is a serious high and I'm going to assume that some of these kids feel better by playing the aggressor instead of the victim. That doesn't excuse the behavior in any way, shape or form however.

I had an 11 year old told me to go slit my wrists during a Call of Duty match after I told him to stop running his mouth about another teammate. 11 years old! However, many of these games lack an adequate reporting system for these types of things. WoW, as toxic as the community was, had a zero tolerance policy for certain phrases that implied pressure to harm oneself, racism or disguisting hateful terms. But with a free game like League of Legends, it would take several consistent infractions for someone to be brought to a review panel, which happened to be player moderated, and they'd often wind up with a slap on the wrist. In the off-chance they were perma-banned, they could just create a brand new account with a different email. It is a free to play game afterall.

It's absolutely sickening and I wish there was some way to get through to these kids about the impact of what they say and do.

Patria
Patria's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
OLGA member
Joined: 06/02/2011 - 1:55am
I agree JB. I've never

I agree JB. I've never played the "free" games after my addictive bout with W.O.W. I'm sorry to hear about how toxic it is. Facebook has been just as bad sometimes.

The problem seems to be the "unaccountability" of online internet people.

W.O.W. did have a zero tolerance for certain things. And a "report button" for that.

I'm glad I'm not in that world anymore.

May Light
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 2 months ago
OLG-Anon memberOLG-Anon moderator
Joined: 07/23/2013 - 4:02am
JB629, my son used to play

JB629, my son used to play Leagues of Legends excessively. Thank goodness he stopped playing (keep the fingers crossed, he will never return playing again) for nearly four months ago. I was not aware of the bullying. No wonder why he was feeling down almost all the time after playing this game. I am sure there were other reasons too. But bullying must have been a contributor.

I am very sorry about the two beautiful girls. What a waste of two young lives!

I agree with Patria that the bullying, disrestpectful behaviour, selfishness, rudeness are becoming more and more common. Some people just don't seem to care about the other's feelings. It isn't easy to be growing up in this era, too much pressure from every direction.

"The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past. You can't go on well in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches." "The first step toward change is acceptance." "Once you accept yourself, you open the door to change. That's all you have to do." "Change is not something you do, it's something you allow."- Will Garcia

Andrew_Doan
Andrew_Doan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
OLG-Anon memberOLGA memberOutreach
Joined: 06/13/2011 - 9:37am
JB629 wrote: It's not only
JB629 wrote:

It's not only WoW. League of Legends had one of the most toxic and disguisting communities you could imagine. "You should go kill yourself" Or "Do the world a favor and die. Nobody is gonna miss you," were phrases I saw pop up way to often. It's disguisting. Somehow despite all the awareness being brought to light in the media on bullying and its role in teen suicide, it seems to be just a bigger problem.

Thus, I tell parents NO ONLINE PLAY for minors EVER!

Andrew Doan MD PhD

My Videos: Internet gaming disorder is real & my story 

*The views expressed are of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the U.S. Navy or Department of Defense.

Log in or register to post comments