Kerala: Two teenage suicides in a week, chorus grows louder for strict gaming laws
19th November 2021
A teenage student S Akash, 14 who lost money in online games was found dead in a pond near Irinjalakuda in Thrissur. As per reports, the boy went missing from his home on Tuesday (Nov 16) evening. Following this, the parents had lodged a police complaint.
A search party of the police reportedly stumbled upon the boy’s footwear and bicycle near a pond on Wednesday. A further search helped police to lead to the body of Akash in the pond. Irinjalakuda police told The New Indian Express that they suspect that Akash’s father had reprimanded the boy, who was studying class IX, for spending money on mobile games such as Garena Free Fire. Following this, the teenager reportedly resorted to the extreme step.
On November 8, in Thiruvananthapuram, another student aged 14 ended his life allegedly after being addicted to online games. Sabith Muhammad, a student at Prem Nazir Memorial Government HS School in Koonthalloor, was found hanging at his residence. The Class 8 student got addicted to mobile games using the phone given to him by his mother for his online studies.
His father Shanavas, who works abroad, and other family members never came to know about his addiction until they checked the phone after he hanged himself. Sabith maintained secrecy about his gaming addiction by secret passwords.
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Based on the family statement, the police have decided to send Sabith’s phone for a detailed forensic examination, informed inspector GB Mukesh to Mathrubhumi. On the day of Sabith’s death, his mother had picked him from the tuition center in the afternoon. Around 2.30 pm, he went to his room with the phone claiming that he need to finish some notes. As Sabith didn’t come out of his room till 5 pm, Sajeena went to his room and found it locked from inside. As there was no response from the room, Sajeena sought the help of the neighbours to open the door. Sabith was found hanging on the window bars. In neighbouring state Tamil Nadu, a few days back, a 31-year old person committed suicide after losing INR 20 lakh in online rummy.
“A content meant for adults is being passed into the child’s brains through the online games. A kid do not have the mental capacity to sense the danger. An etiquette of online behaviour should be developed and the online activities of children monitored,” psychiatrist Dr John was quoted by The New Indian Express. In September, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had announced the setting up of digital de-addiction centers with the help of the police’s Cyberdome to keep children away from the dangers of online games. However, the project is yet to be implemented.