Did Mobile Phones Play a Role in Suicide of Young Students in Karachi?

In this technological age, when someone says they don’t own a mobile phone, it’s difficult not to be skeptical. Who doesn’t own a mobile phone? But what if owning a mobile phone makes your sixteen year old son commit suicide? Hard to believe isn’t it? Sadly, it’s not far from reality.

On 1st of September, when majority of the students all over Pakistan were preparing to start a new year of studies – a new chapter in their life – two teenagers were planning to end their lives when they left from their school, situated in Karachi’s Patel Para area. They reportedly carried out their plans in an empty class room while the rest of the school was in the grounds for assembly; the 16 year old boy opened fire on his female classmate, after which he shot himself.

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Upon discovery of suicide notes, the reason came to light: their parents were against the marriage of this young couple. While the socio-cultural cause of the suicides is evident, there is every reason to look for complementing factors which played their part in aiding these teens. One of these factors is the increased usage of Mobile Phones among youngsters, which has evident negative consequences.

While the social and cultural reasons are apparent, did increased usage of mobile phones facilitate the incident?

Suicide is among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 years in some countries and the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 years age group, according to a study conducted by World Health Organization in 2012. However, a steady increase in the incidence of suicide committed by youth – especially Pakistani youngsters – is a cause for alarm.

Serving as the threshold between childhood and adult life, teenage is the age when majority of the children decide to take matters in their own hands. But if this confidence turns into impulsive decision making which, aided by technology, puts their lives in danger i.e. suicide, it becomes a matter of public health concern.

Increased mobile usage doesn’t only entail the ease of communication via the late night packages offered by various companies – the negative consequences of which include spoilt teenagers and their studies being affected – but also, a sense of empowerment which results in incidents such as these, especially with a lack of check from the parents’ side.

A steady increase in lucrative offers that allow teenagers to text and talk all night is giving rise to dangerous behaviors in teenagers

It is clearly evident from the pictures of their last letters that not only did the teens choose to write them in Roman Urdu – symbolic of the text message language – instead of Urdu or English, but the recurring grammatical errors are also a clear indication of their lack of interest in studies. This shows that they used mobile phones regularly, and that they might have even planned the suicide via text messages or calls, using the midnight packages so easily accessible and affordable.

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This makes one question the line between using a gadget and misusing it. In this technological age, when gadgets – especially mobile phones – are so readily available in Pakistan, there is an urgent need to regulate the technological usage of youngsters. The urgency comes from the need to avoid one of the extreme negative consequences mentioned above. This regulation is primarily the responsibility of parents. It can be argued that parents nowadays are less technologically aware than their children, but with public awareness through pamphlets, newspapers and television, parents can be apprised of the severity of the issue.

However, the responsibility of the telecom companies and government cannot be disregarded. Extreme parental control may lead to acts of adolescent rebellion, and in this case, the availability of the text/call packages which these youngsters avail becomes significant. The telecom companies should set a minimum age for access and usage of these packages, and this control should be put into effect by the government through strict policies.

Ultimately it’s the responsibility of the parents but government and telcos need to limit the usage of mobile phone packages based on age as well

Pakistani youth is the future of this country and that makes not only their parents, but the whole nation responsible for putting them in the right direction and safeguarding their interests and more importantly, their lives.

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Therefore, everyone who can take steps toward regulating their technological usage – parents, social circle, telecom companies, government to name a few – should learn a lesson from this tragic event and take responsibility. Mobile phones are meant to make life easier, and when they aid in ending lives, it is definitely a cause for concern.

  • Parents Media and Society are responsible for these incidents.
    Look at suicide rate in west and how their government controlling them but the real cause is always the 3 factors in west and here too.

  • something like اگلے جنم was written on that note. Pretty heavy Indian cultural Influence on our children

    • Ghar se cable connection nikalwa dijiye ya indian tv or movie channels tv pe lock kar dijiye. Aap k bachay mehfooz rahain ge.

  • Firstly, I think there is a big role of movies and dramas which has no age restriction.
    Secondly, There Parents. Parents have a huge affect on making or braking the character of children…

    I personaly feel Usage of mobile fon should requie a license or a training certificate.

        • It’s parents ofcourse.. what an immature mentality of author. If a teenager dies in a car accident due to rash driving would you blame the automobile company for making cars?

  • I personally feel that, although mobile phones did facilitate communication, the real reason is non-restricted watching of indian movies and heavy indian cultural influence on our society. Ideas such as “agla janam” gave that kid a little confidence that one day he might be able to unite with her (kinda indian romantic movie-ish feelings here). This leading him to suicide. But what he didnt know that there is no thing as “second chance” . suicide = jahnum. The end.
    Thus, the easiest way to counter these things in my view is restriction both morally and legally on Mature/romantic kind of films on teens. Also, pakistan should start producing its own cartoons and move away from indian cartoons which also have that movie-ish touch nowadays.
    BTW, im a heavy internet using teen so sorry if i was a bit biased towards phones. But yea, i understand these kinda things.

      • There is something known as “Tarbiyat” it’s your brought up nothing else. School mai saath parhny wali larki k liye jaan de de ge but maa baap k liye zinda nahi rahain ge aur phir ilzaam media aur technology pe. What a shame

  • What a piece of trash!

    How did you draw that conclusion without any single evidence? Were any mobile phones recovered from those two? Was there any recorded mobile conversation that was reviewed in passing this judgement? Or any text messages? Who is this writer seriously!

    • She’s a logical writer who is unbiased and open-minded unlike you.
      Where else do you think were they communicating other than the aforementioned media devices?
      Ab ye na bolna ke school may sath date marte they! Seriously pathetic .. .

  • If it was just that the propakistani also needed to have the taste of some masala gossip & as a result this article was posted than I’m really sorry it’s just frustating. I guess this article shouldn’t be written, & if written no way it has published on propakistani. It’s sad. Using or mis using any technology is one’s own take. If their parents can’t guard their kids, if they didn’t have ample time to spend with them, if they are not capable enough to handle their kids than I’m sorry my friend no movie, drama, magazine story, internet or mobile phone has anything to do with it. A 16 year kid can’t afford a mobile phone or internet or sms packages if the finance wasn’t from his/her parents. If parents can’t watch their kids what they are doing in their privacy than no other one is ready to take the blame. A matric student should be busy in the main starting point of building his/her career. If their parents haven’t taught them what Islam is than it’s no one’s mistake. How can a matric student have such time to chat over night packages? And why a 16 year kid had access to his father’s personal weapon? If anyone is responsible it’s the parents. So Mr. Author if you want to write something write about those ignorant parents who don’t have time to be friends with their kids & listen, understand or resolve their issues. Especially in the case of girl, how a mother was so ignorant that she couldn’t sense what her daughter was cooking? I know it’s a hard time for those poor parents & the poor souls may they rest in peace but on the day of judgement their parents will be surely questioned about their acts. My kids are my responsibility, not anyone else’s in the world. Only if we could learn anything from this issue or any other issue about any kind of child abuse anywhere in the world is that parents should give their children that comfort zone where they can trust their parents before anyone else on any of their issues. Please parents, be best friends of your kids. Than there will be no such issue.

  • err… in a society where having a psychiatric condition & consulting a doctor about it labels you as a “PAGAL or MENTAL or MAD”! yeah sure technology killed them. #RidingMyHighHorse

    • exactly, and precious lives lost they even didn’t remembered Allah and his guidance. Allah please forgive us and show us the right path.

    • Mr.Alam, if you create any formula on any incident (such as Terrorist, Suicider, Car Crasher, etc.), you will find “Parents” always there… so don’t try to blame different factors involved.

      • different or same but every incident involves several factors. you can’t just say it was because of indian dramas only.

        • That’s what i meant. If you read my comment, it was clearly mentioned that if something is common; its “PARENTS”.

          ALLAH ne waladain ko yeah zimedari issi liye di hai kyion keh woh janta hai keh USS ki zaat ke elawa agar iss kainaat mai koi shey hai jo zimedari ba-khobi nibha sakta hai tu woh sirf waldain hi hai (cahey woh waldain insaano mai se ho, jinnaat mai se ya phir haiwannaat mai se)

  • Parents are responsible…
    Parents can controls things are home.
    Parents can opt for a good Islamic School.
    Parents can control which other friends the child meets.

  • Just Media is responsible…. Because when we don’t know how to use phone then how can we operate it?? somebody tells us to operate it. somebody gives us idea for doing a lot of thinks that are possible with anything i.e cell phone….. Media is a slow poison used by Jews to destroy the youth of Pakistan. COAS please try to stop media by showing vulgar things and blackmailing people and politicians.

    • Jahalaat se bahir niklo Babar bhai; yeah 2015 hai, koi 6000 BC. Agar MEDIA se itna problem hai tu choor du MEDIA ka kisi tarah ka istemaal. Har baat ka solution Danda nahi huta, aur har danda COAS nahi chala sakta, chalana hai tu PARENTS ko khud chalana pare ga.

      Cabotar ki tarah ankhain band kar lye ne se kuch hasil nahi hota. Ziyada zaroori baat yeah hai ke Kab, Kahan aur Kiya faisala mai apne bachoon ke barey mai karta hon.

  • There were no mobile phones back when Romeo and Juliet did the same thing in Shakespeare’s play…suicide for forbidden love is one of the oldest human stories.

  • This article is most crap i have read in a single page. Why not blame the gun while u are at it or the food they ate cuz if they didn eat they wud hav already starved to death . Only reason is our mentailty caste race sect colour language . We are single most racist nation in the world . We need to change our mentality realize no one is above another den we will get rid of these kind of suicides

  • Thats the stupidest article i have ever read. Then lets relate their suicide to anything at all. the dresses they wore, the kind of haircut they had, what food they preferred. pure stupid article

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