Suicide and the Internet
You can do almost anything you want on the internet. You can balance your checkbook, play a game with someone half way around the world, or read what someone you've never heard of thinks about some important world topic.
You can do nearly anything on the internet. In fact, if you're a teenager you can even find help on the best way to commit suicide. That's right. You didn't misread that last sentence. Parents, you need to be very aware of what's out there. According to this article on CNN.com,
there is a newsgroup called Alt.Suicide.Holiday (ASH). This group doesn't seem to be around anymore, but a quick search provided "recipes" for toxic potions to cause painless death. Groups like this provide support and in the case of the young woman in this story, sometimes even help with the planning process.
I can't say this strongly enough. Parents...be aware of what your child is exposed to on the internet. And even more than ever, pray for discernment and wisdom to help you see the trap before your child falls into it. Teen suicide is already such a pervasive issue, that adding web sites like this to it seems like adding kerosene to a fire.
The internet is a powerful tool for a school aged child to learn to use. It can teach them hundreds of useful things. We just have to watch out for the deadly things too.
It's no longer enough to use parental blocks and assume that they'll keep the kids safe. That software helps, but it's not enough. We as parents have to maintain constant vigilance. A child can start in an innocent chat room and be led to a site like this that is a threat to his very life.
It has recently come to my attention that some teenagers looking for painless ways to commit suicide have found their way to this site through the search engines. If that's you, I want to ask you to stop searching on that topic right now. Find an adult that you trust, whether it be a parent, a teacher, or anyone that will listen to you. Tell them how you feel, and why you're thinking about taking this drastic step. Please don't let whatever circumstances you find yourself in now be the defining moment of your life. The Bible says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. That includes you. Regardless of what's happening in your life right now, there are people who love you, and will help you get through this if you will let them. Please find help before you do something that everyone who knows you will regret.
I'm looking for feedback as to what can be done to curb this kind of insanity. Should we create laws? If we did, how could we enforce them? What else can we do?
The best thing I can think of is to teach our kids that their lives are too important to waste like that. Make sure they understand they are loved, needed and respected. The best way to teach them that is to drive home the lessons taught in the Bible, and to help them understand that the Lord created them for a purpose that only they can fulfill, and that committing suicide would hinder that purpose.
Just as important is to talk to your kids. Be aware of what's going on in their lives. Watch for changes in behavior and ask your kids what's going on. You know your children better than anyone. This makes you the first, and best, line of defense if they start showing signs of depression. They may act like they don't want you butting in, but if you make sure they know that you're asking out of love and concern for them, they will eventually open up to you.
Parents, watch over your children. Kids, keep your eyes open and don't let yourselves be deceived.
I'll leave you with this admonition from scripture:
6Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
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