Why did the Abha boy commit suicide?


Al-Jazirah newspaper

THE local media wrote extensively about the suicide of 12-year-old Abdul Rahman Al-Ahmari in Abha recently. Almost everyone reacted to the news especially when his grief-stricken father appeared on one of the TV channels talking about the untimely loss of his son.

The father described the son to be quiet and obedient. He said he was his favorite child and that he responded to all his requests and demands.

Initial reports claimed that the young boy committed suicide as a result of playing the deadly electronic game called "Blue Whale", which takes the player through 50 challenges. The final challenge incites the player to commit suicide by hanging or jumping from a high-rise building.

The farther then appeared on another TV channel saying the "Blue Whale" was innocent and it had no hand in the death of his son. He said his son played another game called the Magic Kingdoms. He said he discovered the danger of this game only after his son's death.

The suicide of the young boy by hanging from a curtain rope raises many questions. Was the electronic game the real reason for the suicide or was it an accident?

The hospitals in the Kingdom registered many cases of children suffocating to death and the culprit was almost always the curtain rope. A number of doctors could testify to this.

The father had confused the viewers. If the horrible "Blue Whale" game was not responsible for the death of his son, did the game that he used to play drive him to commit suicide? How dangerous is this game if it led to the death of this boy?

There are many other computer games that are dangerous for children. We do not know much about all of these games or their influence on children. Is the influence of these games so serious as to drive children and teenagers to end their lives by their own hands?

Where are the reports of the Public Prosecution about this incident? Has it investigated the case and published its findings?

If the results of the investigations had incriminated the "Blue Whale" game, we will have the right to ask: Has it been blocked by the concerned authorities?

Where is the role of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development in child protection?

The father said his son had spent 3,000 hours playing the game and passed about 92 percent of the challenges. We must ask another question: Was there a communication gap between the boy and his family? If the boy had any problems in communicating with the family, was this the reason he devoted so much time to playing computer games?

Why are there no visits by the child protection agency of the ministry to the families to check the behavior of children?

The ministry should have made such inspection visits and alerted the families about the dangers facing their children.

The ministry should put the families in the picture about the reasons behind the suicide of their children. It should have also published reports to provide the citizens with the data they need to protect their children.

People need to know from a reliable source about the reasons behind the Abha boy's suicide and the precautions they should take to protect their sons and daughters from a similar fate. Parents should be aware of any dangers that their children may face so that society becomes vigilant because the family is the nucleus of every society. National security will remain an illusion without family safety.

It is extremely important that the concerned authorities come out with the facts. This will pacify the people and inculcate in them the importance of family supervision of children.

Parents should protect their children against any possible dangers including addiction to electronic games. They should not neglect children and leave them alone for long periods.

Transparency is vital in building trust between parents and children. Parents should construct bridges for communication with their children. Bridges of communication should also be built between families and the concerned authorities.