A lot to cope with

A lot to cope with

A lot to cope with

The number of cases of youngsters, aged between 11 and 14 years, committing suicide has steadily risen in the City.

The incident of an 11-year-old boy committing suicide after his parents scolded him; another case of a 13-year-old taking his life, unable to bear the alleged harassment from his friends, and yet another teenager hanging himself, inspired by a television serial — are indicators of the vulnerabilities our teenagers are facing.

Television and movies have an influence on young minds, who tend to replicate certain stunts that they see. Talking about the kind of content that is suitable for teenagers, Aruna Kumar, head of media and broadcasting, Maya Digital Studio, points out that more than three-fourth of all Indian households own a television.

   “Sadly, India does not have a national guideline to regulate TV viewing among children. And it’s seriously affecting the country’s youth. Live images of recent siege by terrorists , or rapist or anti-social elements on TV — gun shots, bomb blasts, raging fires and charred bodies — have caused serious mental trauma among growing kids. They suffer from anxiety and insomnia,” reasons Aruna. 

She feels that parents have no idea how much television is safe, which is why they allow their kids to stay glued to the TV and seriously put at risk their personality development and self esteem, affecting their sleep and appetite and self motivation.  
  Counsellors and psychologists observe that excessive competition, societal pressure and lack of bonding are the main reasons behind such incidents.

   Chittaranjan Andrade, professor, department of psychopharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, reasons that children are exposed to far higher levels of stress these days.

   “The demands of education are greater, not only with regard to the syllabus but with regard to proficiency, as well. Then, children are becoming exposed to seat competition in the rat race at an earlier age. And parents too are stressed, thanks to demanding jobs,” explains Chittaranjan. 

He further states that stress is not necessarily bad if it can be offset with healthy and capable coping.

   “Unfortunately, children have poorer opportunities for stress busting. More time is spent on watching TV, participating in social media and going for tuitions than laughing and playing on the games field. Social life is compromised by comparisons about clothing, cellphones, and other materialistic matters,” he opines.

Money and ambition have grown into problems of gargantuan proportions. They have become the main criteria between couples, at the workplace, between siblings and between friends as well. They have ceased to be ‘one of the many things’ and are now the ‘only things’ that make or break a person. Binu, a professional, attributes the rise in suicide cases to peer pressure, unregulated bullying and teasing among children at school. Binu says, “Adolescence is universally a very trying time with challenges ranging from hormonal changes, peer pressure and increased academic demands. In the West, scolding a child — either at home or school — amounts to cognisable offence. In our society, sadly, it is a norm.”

Leila Verghese, a parent of two girls and an educationist, thinks today’s young boys and girls are materialistically driven. “We notice today that most relationships are on a superficial level. There’s no depth to what people say and do. Parents must help children face the pressures of society confidently and spend time instilling the right values in them,” reasons Leila.

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