Why are Teens searching for “How to Kill Yourself”? Let’s look at Bullying first!
Bullying has escalated into an epidemic of ghastly proportions among the teens in the US today. It is estimated that around 28% of teens aged 12-18 are bullied in some way at school, and that 160,000 kids play hookey from school to avoid being bullied. With such staggering statistics, it is becoming more and more likely that your child is experiencing or engaging in bullying behavior. There are signs that may emerge that could give parents a clue that their child is one of these statistics, and with the new focus on computers and social media, parents need to step up their game to find out what is going on with their teen.
The statistics surrounding teen suicide are staggering- the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 4,400 teenagers take their life each year, making suicide the number three cause of death in this age group. For every teen that commits suicide, the CDC reports that one hundred are unsuccessful in their attempt. The most at-risk population in this age group seems to be females, ages 10-14, and that victims of bullying are twice to nine-times as likely to consider suicide than teens that are not being bullied.
Suicide is not the only potential casualty caused by bullying, however. Studies indicate that over 80% of school shootings are an act of revenge against students who have bullied or harmed the shooter. Over 50% of school students report having witnessed an act of bullying, while over 70% report that bullying is a major issue at their school. In this environment, is it any wonder why teens are becoming desensitized to violence? This desensitization could cause problems later on, or serve as a breeding ground for violence later on in the life-span of the child.
Watch your teen carefully for the following signals that they may be experiencing suicidal thoughts:
- An interest in death or dying
- Depression, sadness, withdrawal, loss of interest in things that previously gave the teen pleasure, difficulty sleeping, or change of eating habits
- Substance use or abuse
- Reckless behaviors and decreased regard for personal safety and well-being
- Self-injurious behaviors, which may include cutting or self-harm
- Statements regarding the inability to cope or that life might be improved without them
- Giving away cherished belongings could be a way of saying goodbye to others and a sign of suicidal preoccupation or plans
- Online searches regarding how to kill yourself, including how to kill yourself painlessly, how to kill yourself with household items, or how to kill yourself peacefully
The definition of bullying can cause a divide among some people. Suicide related to bullying can involve any type of bullying behavior, including physical, emotional, and cyber bullying. “Sex-ting”has emerged as a new way for bullies to torment victims, and involves disseminating suggestive or provocative messages regarding the victim. This may or may not include naked images of the victim.
Don’t minimize or allow your child’s victimization be minimized by others, such as school officials, parents, or peers. The intrusion of the often violent-nature of bullying can cause life-long trauma. Cyber bullying, while often non-physical at the time of the occurrence, can create a stigma making your teen a social outcast at school, while potentially setting them up to be victims of violence later on in life. Don’t tolerate any form of bullying, or allow those involved to underscore the harm of these situations.
Signs your teen is being bullied
One of the biggest signs that you child might be experiencing bullying is a decreased interest in school. It is estimated that one out of ten teens drop-out of school due to bullying.
The following signs might also indicate that your child is being bullied:
- Teen comes home from school later than usual, or hungry. This could indicate incidents where they are being bullied on their way home, skipping lunch, or having their lunch taken from them.
- An increase in incidents of your child losing or damaging their belongings could be a sign of bullying.
- Read between the lines. Teens may drop hints in their conversations with you that someone is giving them a “hard time” or “messing” with them. Take these subtleties seriously and ask your child to expand on this.
- Becoming upset after checking their computers or reading their texts could indicate that your child is being bullied online.
- If your child quits an activity or makes excuses for not participating in school activities, such as sports, there could be an underlying bullying issue. Excuses such as practices being canceled or finished early could also be a way of the child covering up the fact that they are no longer involved in the activity, which could be related to some form of bullying.
- Isolative behavior or an absence of the friends that were commonly seen with your child might also be a sign of bullying and the related stigma.
- Physical bruises, marks, or other injuries, as well as the attempt to cover these injuries through long-sleeves in mild weather, etc., could also indicate your child is being bullied.
- Mood changes and dysregulation could be pointing toward bullying. Sullen, somber, depressed, anxious, or withdrawn mood might be observed.
- Sleep and eating changes might be a sign of bullying. More common reports from your child regarding illness, stomach pain, or frequent visits to the school nurses’ office could also be a sign that they are being bullied.
- School bathrooms can be the “belly of the beast” when it comes to bullying. If your child seems to hurry to the bathroom every day when they get home, acting as though they have not gone all day, this might reflect the fear of using the school’s facility and could be a sign of a bullying problem.
- Clingy behavior could indicate that your child is being bullied, and that they don’t want to be left alone.
- A drop in your child’s grades is another sign of possible bullying problems.
- Those who are bullied may become a bully. If your child exhibits bullying behaviors toward siblings or others in the home, this could be a sign that they are, in fact, being bullied.
Nobody wants to admit that their child is a bully and responsible for inflicting pain on other children. However, inattention won’t make the bullying behavior go away. In fact, tolerance of any bullying behavior, either at home among siblings or in a school setting, could be perpetuating violent behavior and overlooking an underlying emotional issue. This could be a recipe for disaster and could set a stage for the teen to grow into a maladjusted adult. A better approach is to meet the problem head-on and implement a no-tolerance policy. The theory that bullies have been victims of bullying themselves may hold some truth, so getting to the root of the behavior and addressing any emotional wounds with the help of a licensed professional might be the most pragmatic approach.
- Sleep problems
- Increased problems at school
- Behavioral issues at home
- Hanging out with aggressive or “mean” friends
- Focus on popularity
- Violence in the home
- Finding items in your child’s possession that you did not buy or know that they had.
Parents who perceive their child’s behavior as a personal failure may ignore more productive steps that can thwart bullying and modify their child’s behavior.
While a computer seems to make it easier for bullies to stigmatize and torment their victims, these devices can also show signs of a problem for parents that want to intervene or get involved. The importance of checking the history and search terms on the computer cannot be over-emphasized, and many parents may be stunned at what they find on their family’s computer. Don’t let your teen make light of serious queries that may allude to thoughts of suicide or underlying bullying issues.
Some search terms include:
- How to kill yourself without pain
- How to kill yourself in your sleep
- How to kill yourself with pills
- How to kill yourself quickly
- How to kill yourself easily
- How to kill yourself with a gun
- How to kill yourself sleeping pills
These search terms could be the teen’s way of putting an end to the torments of being bullied, and should show parents that this is a situation that has exacerbated to a crisis. If you find that your teen is researching ways to kill themselves, get involved. Your child may not want to die, but may be desperate to find a way to alleviate the daily pain and humiliation of being bullied.
Getting involved in the life of your teen will be a challenge. They may fight you every step of the way. Any threat or talk around suicide warrants serious response. Don’t try to be the mediator or therapist, and take your teen for medical help immediately. Assure them with a calm and non-judgmental demeanor. Other steps that you can take during this time include these pragmatic precautions:
- If someone in the house is depressed or expressing suicidal ideation, remove any potential weapons from the home. This includes any medications that could pose risk of overdose.
- Offer your child professional help. Don’t try to minimize what they are experiencing, but reassure them and encourage them to speak-up about their ordeal. Show your teen that you love and support them.
- Encourage your child to involve you more in their life, which includes becoming their friend on social media pages. This allows parents to also observe what is being posted about their child.
- Monitor your child’s computer. This may include parental controls or other features to keep your eye on what sites your teen visits, as well as what is being circulated about your child. Check the history of the computer, too. This may reveal some very frightening queries and searches that can point to a problem with bullying. Some search terms to be on the look-out for include: how to kill yourself, how do you kill yourself, how to kill yourself quick, how you can kill yourself, how to kill yourself quickly and painlessly, how to kill yourself fast, how to easily kill yourself, how to kill yourself without it hurting, or how to slowly kill yourself. These and many other search phrases may be related to the teen’s hopelessness related to a bullying situation and should set off alarms for parents.
- Parents need to talk with schools and insist on meeting with the bully’s parents. This gets it all out in the open and takes the secrecy out of the situation.
- Parents can reach out to local law enforcement if schools fail to keep the child safe. There are attorneys that may help with bringing charges against teens exhibiting bullying behaviors, and the court’s tolerance for bullying is greatly reduced due to new laws and penalties.
- Parents should seek emergency help if their child reveals any thoughts of suicide. There are suicide prevention hot-lines that may offer crisis services in your area.
There can be life after bullying. Teens looking for ways to harm themselves may merely be seeking a fast solution to the bullying and end to the pain it causes. Get involved in support groups and encourage your child’s participation, as well. Anti-bullying groups can build solidarity between victims that empowers the teens, and gives them courage and hope moving forward.
Get involved early and act on any signs that your teen might be a victim of bullying, including searches and queries regarding how to kill yourself. These flags might be the only opportunity that you have to thwart a suicide attempt or reveal the true nature of your child’s pain. Talk with a licensed professional to determine the best intervention techniques for working with depressed or suicidal teens. Also, remember that bullying impacts the whole family, deteriorating bonds and destroying communication in many instances. Don’t be another victim of your child’s bully. Open up, speak up, and stand up to bullying now.
This is a serious topic and the reason we at NoBullying.com have written this content is to attract people searching for this topic or certain phrases online and bring them to a resource website that offers understanding, support and help. While we do discuss the subject topic – the aim of this article is to also offer support, advice and point to more helpful content – that a reader would not necessarily get from another website. If you are reading this article and believe the subject matter offends you or needs elaboration or that the topic has room for improvement we ask you to comment below so that we can share your input with the rest of our readership. If you are worried about Suicide please contact today, we can help.
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