Rewriting Possibility: 81%
While family problems and depression, academic and social pressure, alcoholism and drug abuse play a fundamental role in teens taking their own lives, portrayals and reports of suicidal behavior in the mass media have also shown negative influences on those who are exposed to such stimuli. First of all, studies have made it clear to us that the impact of the media on suicide is most likely when ” a method is specified -especially when presented in details- when the Story is portrayed dramatically and prominently for example with photographs of the deceased or large headlines” (“Influences of the media on suicide’).
We all know that adolescence fosters a type of “adolescent egocentrics” a state of self- absorption in which teens view the world from their own point of view and believe that they are the center of everyone else’s attention. With that being said, most of them often “romanticizes adventure and living on the edge” as Chelsea Blues mentioned and so they see suicide as a glamorous tool to escape reality and as a way of getting the attention that was missing in their life. But what does the media have to do with this claim?
Well the answer is that it gives those teenagers innovative ideas of how to end their lives to the mint where they create a “fantasy of what their funeral will look like. They imagine themselves flying over their funeral and seeing how much they are missed” (CTD. Blues). In addition, Gould, Jameson and Roomer indicate that “several studies have found dramatic effects of televised portrayals that have led to increased rates of suicide and suicide attempts using the same methods displayed in the shows” (1269-1284).
It can be inferred that this is an issue of imitating the other. According to psychologist Albert Bandeau and colleagues, people can learn simply by observing the behavior of others. And so linking this back to our media idea, witnessing and watching high levels of media suicides makes viewers more susceptible of imitating and acting similarly especially when the behaviors of the victims of the media are “rewarded”. Furthermore, neuroscience have recently discovered the existence of “mirror neurons” that fire when we observe another person carrying out a behavior.
However, there is another factor, and this factor is in fact “similarity between the media stimulus or model and the observer in terms of age, sex and nationality. ” (“Influences of the media on Suicide”). We are humans who are in a constant need Of identification with others. The media neglects the latter. When presenting the news of any suicide, they tend to oversimplify the causes behind the action. In “Influences of the media on Suicide” it is mentioned that “the most common factor leading to suicide, mental illness is often overlooked”.
In other words, they say that the victim was for instance under “academic and peer pressure”, had “family problems” or as stupid as it may sound “failed the Stats” instead of explaining that the victim was suffering from a severe psychological disorder. But this is a serious problem because as trivial as those examples seem to be, many teenagers are still ending their life because they make it easy for them to identify with the victim. Teens have to have this in mind: they’re not “just like the victim”.
It’s not because the victims have had the same symptoms as they do and so they should imitate them, teenagers should think about the consequences that could take place afterwards. It’s not a solution for the family and friends left behind. Moreover, we have something called the copycat suicide that is defined as an emulation of another suicide that the person attempting suicide knows due to depictions of the original suicide in the mass media.
Hence, they are cost likely to take place when celebrities undergo suicide. Media coverage of the event becomes nonstop, which often leads to more tragedy. We have the example of Marilyn Monroe who took her life by overdosing on barbiturates in August 1 962 was followed by an increased 12 % suicide rate as well as an increase of 200 more suicides that same month. These people actually killed themselves because of Marilyn Monroe killed herself and this is all because of the way the media reported the devastating news.
This occurrence does not only concern the United States, Blues clarifies that in 1986 in Tokyo an 18 year old singer called Kodak Yukon also took her life and her widely reported death resulted in 31 teen suicides in the following two weeks. Identification with the victim is a huge tool in the power of media to establish a copycat effect and those innocent teens were so attached to both of these celebrities that they decided to end their lives the same way they did. Whether its because they wanted to “reunite with the deceased” or a way of expressing great love for them.
As a matter of fact, music is a very important type of influential media because in music, fans not only identify with the lyrics but tit the artists too and teenagers consume it more than any other population group. Especially when we are talking about Rap, Heavy Metal and Rock music that contain suicidal themes. For instance we have a song called “Suicide Solution” by the famous Oozy Osborne with lyrics saying: ” Breaking laws, locking doors, but there is no one at home.