The dangers of the internet, especially for children and teenagers, can be as real as actual physical ones. The damage can be purely psychological or mental but social media has contributed to increased suicide rates among teenagers. Sadly, we have yet again another teenage suicide which was fueled by Instagram followers in a worrying circumstance nonetheless.
The alarming incident happened to an anonymous 16-year-old teenage girl from Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. The girl apparently jumped from a building rooftop to kill herself back on Monday (May 13) night. While she did commit suicide, the police are possibly looking at another angle of her death.
That’s because the said teenage girl posted a poll for her Instagram followers asking for comment answers on whether she should live or die. To make voting simple, her Instagram followers only had to comment “L” to vote for her to live and “D” to vote for her death.
The results? 69 percent of all the votes were “D” and only 31 percent were “L.” It wasn’t clear how serious she was in the eyes of her Instagram followers or how many of them actually thought it was a tasteless dark joke, but the 16-year-old teen ended her life after the poll results were finalized.
“Various questions arise from this unfortunate incident. Would the girl still be alive today if the majority of netizens on her Instagram account discouraged her from taking her own life?” Ramkarpal Singh, a member of the Parliament in Malaysia.
Further investigation unearthed that the teenager also showed signs of suicidal thoughts on other social media where she even wrote “WANNA QUIT F*CKING LIFE I’M TIRED,” on her Facebook. According to the police, the teen was believed to be stressed ever since her stepfather married another woman and seldom returned home.
Despite the cause of her stress being clear, anyone who voted “D” on her suicide poll could face a criminal sentence of up to 20 years according to the police and as per Malaysia’s Section 305 of the Penal Code, which says it is unlawful to incite someone below 18 to commit suicide. The legislators and the police are still on an ongoing investigation on how to handle the matter.
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