In Russia, the number of teenage suicides increased by 13% in 2021. The number of repeated attempts to commit suicide increased to 92%. Such data appear in the report of the commissioner for human rights. Today, in terms of the number of child and adolescent suicides, Russia is in the first lines of this sad world ranking . In all of 2021, 3,675 children committed suicide in Russia. This was already after the blocking of "suicidal groups" in social networks. The conclusion is that the Internet has nothing to do with it.
The topic of protecting adolescents from suicide was discussed at a special meeting by Mikhail Romanov, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Control Committee; Chairman of the State Duma Anna Kuznetsova, Prosecutor of St. Petersburg Viktor Melnik and Vice-Governor of the city Stanislav Kazarin . The subject of the conversation was the creation of a special hardware-software complex "Protection of the Future", which will allow monitoring social networks to identify suicidal tendencies in adolescents and those who encourage it. The development of this complex is planned to be completed by the beginning of 2023.
But that's not all. According to State Duma deputy Mikhail Romanov , teenage suicides and incitement to them will also be fought by law. It is planned to make adjustments to the 120-FZ "On the fundamentals of the system for the prevention of neglect and juvenile delinquency." “Now the Criminal Code defines the maximum punishment under the relevant article – up to 15 years in prison. It seems appropriate to consider the possibility of increasing the maximum term - up to 20 years in prison," Mikhail Romanov concluded.
The words “suicidal content” and “teenage suicides” usually bring up “blue whales” and social media death groups. In fact, teen suicide was a problem before blue whales and social media death groups. And if you really understand, the “blue whales”, about which they talk and write so much, are rather suicidal quests, and not death groups in the truest sense of the word. In general, it is extremely difficult to remotely bring a person to suicide. In the end, no one canceled the instinct of self-preservation. Nevertheless, teenage suicides occur massively.
“When we conduct post-mortem examinations of teenagers who committed suicide, we always try to find the reasons and reasons that led to this. It is significant that mental disorders among children who commit suicide are practically not found. The reasons are conflicts with parents and at school, depression, personality traits. Most often it is a combination of several reasons. For example, a vulnerable, sensitive teenager who has a conflict with peers, a misunderstanding of his parents, plus an unhappy love, multiplied by the use of some substance. There are no real statistics on suicides due to publications on the Internet or dependence on certain sites. The age of adolescents who commit suicide is very different. Basically it is 13, 14, 15, 16 - summer. But there are also quite minors, there was a case of suicide of a child under 10 years old. We are leading in teenage suicides, because in our country, in fact, no one is doing this. The school is formal, the parents are busy with themselves, ” Viktor Guldan, Doctor of Psychology, head of the psychological laboratory of the Moscow Regional Center for Social and Forensic Psychiatry, told NI.
There are practically no connections with “blue whales” and death groups in social networks now, adolescents are affected differently. In order to commit suicide, one must be immersed in this topic. On one of the sites we found revelations of parents whose children committed suicide .
“Now there are no groups, they were covered. Their function is performed by closed conversations and chats in VK in instant messengers (Telegram). The chat itself is extremely caring. The child is bombarded with love, you don’t want to leave the chat. They get into chats by invitation from depressive groups, by acquaintance. Against the background of chatting, there is constantly content in the background: watching real suicides, corpses, blood. The function is to create the feeling that suicide is a way of leaving life. Chats are crowded."
Obviously, professionals who work with children clearly understand where to look for “pain points”.
“Children are instilled that life has failed, everything is bad in the country, it makes no sense to live, children are slipped relevant literature. This is Orwell, and "50 days before my suicide." These books were read by many of our lost children. Here Nietzsche, Efremov. Bring to the understanding that life is meaningless. You are a loser, nothing good will happen in your life. Step through the open door and you will be reborn. My daughter asked to be cremated and hoped to be reborn as a boy in another life.”
Even the "parental control" installed on the phone can often not save from suicidal propaganda.
“They installed Kaspersky safe kids, and this is not just an antivirus, but a parental control program. Installed at the beginning of the school year, when they realized that the child hangs on the Internet at night. Restrictions on the time of using the Internet 3 hours a day + from 10 pm to 7 am blocking the phone. And they calmed down. And then, after the incident, they began to find out - all this does NOT block incoming WhatsApp and telegram calls. And it is impossible to make a withdrawal from these programs, not through the court, in any way. They are allowed on the territory of Russia, but are not subject to our legislation. In the will, the daughter wrote that she was doing this “so that other children would never put Kaspersky on their phones,” that is, this topic was pumped over by the curator in full.
Obviously, no blocking of the Internet will fundamentally solve the issue. “You won’t achieve anything here by “tightening the screws” on the Internet. Those who came up with new filters on the Internet certainly have some purpose. And they will seek it,” says Victor Guldan , Doctor of Psychology .
We decided to find out what the “Protection of the Future” program proposed by the deputies is, which allows monitoring social networks.
“This is the usual monitoring of social networks, there are dozens of such programs. In general, in many foreign social networks, when suicidal content is published, the system automatically takes note of this, a panel appears: “Would you like to contact a specialist about this?” and so on. What will we have? Well, they will look for targeted posts with suicidal themes and somehow react. In general, these are banal tasks, all government departments have a system for monitoring social networks. In fact, nothing new will be invented, but some expensive system will appear on the public procurement website. Its meaning will be to "find publications with inappropriate content even more efficiently." In general, after the “blue whales”, control over social networks has already been tightened, so what?”, Karen Kazaryan, general director of the Internet Research Institute, told NI.
A scientific journal called the phenomenon of teen suicide the RESET generation. Indeed, today young people, having found themselves in a difficult situation, do not bother themselves with finding solutions to problems. They prefer to start all over again, in the likeness of a computer game, by simply pressing the reset button. Previously, there was an opinion that a person who committed suicide was mentally ill. Anyone who tried to kill himself was registered with a psychiatrist for life. Today, adolescents' thoughts about death are perceived not as a lack of intelligence, but as a result of reflections.
Among the most common reasons for suicide, psychologist Elena Morozova names quarrels with parents, unhappy love and fear of not going to university. The psychologist also said that bullying is rampant in schools. Psychologists and counselors should constantly monitor the condition of children, but they are not enough in educational institutions. In most Russian schools, there are on average 607 students per teacher-psychologist. As you know, the recommended standard for a school psychologist is 300 students. And although the number of school psychologists is growing every year, the number of teenage suicides is not decreasing, but rather increasing. Apparently, school psychological services are most often limited to formal testing, about which psychologists write no less formal reports. As a result, no one has time to just talk heart to heart with the child.
Psychologist Veronika Erofeeva also reported that the number of suicides among children and adolescents is increasing against the backdrop of epidemic and political upheavals. At the same time, the availability of psychological and psychiatric care is falling.
We tried to get through to the Scientific and Practical Center for Mental Health of Children and Adolescents named after Sukhareva, where, theoretically, teenagers can turn if they have problems. When asked who to talk to a teenager in a crisis situation, we were given a phone number by which a psychologist can answer the teenager. But there, in a formal male voice, an answering machine answered us ...
“There is no real help. The numbers of suicides are frightening, and it must be admitted that there is no prevention in this direction. But suicide is the other side of aggression. If I may say so, suicide is aggression directed outward. The more aggression is cultivated in society, the more suicides. And here it is not necessary to prohibit, but to soften morals. For a start, for example, to close down TV shows, which can only be called a source of aggression,” Viktor Guldan, Doctor of Psychology, believes.
Children, growing up, are increasingly moving away from their parents. And the less attention is paid to them, the tougher they are and further. And while they're being scolded for C's, the teens are devising suicide plans. The suicidal content blocking system is definitely a good thing. But a trusting relationship with a child is much better.