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Facebook suicides on the rise?
Facebook has become an integral part of our life but at the same time it ends up having a negative and even a tragic effect. Some incidents in the recent past indicate that having a public online profile can be misused as well as mis-construed by a user of this popular social media platform.

IF YOU have an hour to kill and you are sitting in front of the computer and chatting away then you need to stop doing that for it is not an hour well spent as the virtual world is doing more harm than just entertain. Facebook, Twitter and Myspace might be an easy option and the best solution to spend a lazy afternoon but thanks to this habit, people are getting distressed, depressed and resorting to crimes, suicides and also indulging in self-doubt.

A recent incident occurred in Jalandhar, and showed us how much we are influenced by the social media. Raksha Sharma, a 20-year-old girl ended her life hanging from the ceiling of her hostel. She left a note naming two former students of the same college as harassing her through Facebook by posting obscene and graphic comments about her. Another case that made headlines in 2011 was when an IIM girl from Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, committed suicide after her boyfriend dumped her.

Sanjana Saraf, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, who is with Max heathcare said, “although no documentation suggests that Facebook have increased suicide but things are building up into that directions. These days the virtual world is a much more real place then the physical world and since it is a controlled world wherein people can project a certain image. More and more people wants to live that image that may or may not be similar to their reality.”

The above incidents might be cases in isolation and social networking might be one of the many causes that compels a person to take one's life but this scenario is fast changing as the virtual world is getting more and more popular.

Vani Jain, a psychiatrist, says, “One of the most important deficiencies of virtual interaction is the lack of meeting someone face to face and hence losing out on a wholesome experience. When someone interacts face to face words form only 7 percent of the conversation and the rest are hand gestures, facial expressions, tone of the voice, movements of the eyes, etc. So when a person sits in front of the computer and chats he/she just enjoys 7 percent of the conversation and that is where the problem is.”

To lose out on the 93 percent of the conversation would normally distress anyone yet people cannot have enough of the virtual world. The rampant use of the virtual world is because of insecurities among people in their personal life. In a way they want to compensate for their own world by projecting an image with the help of Facebook posts, pictures and interests.

Shreyashi Banerjee (name changed), when asked about why she always like to chat rather than go out, says, “Do you know I am a dull person in real life but on Facebook I am funny. I can be funny, fun loving and have an opinion.” This 20-year-old student is hooked to her laptop for most part of her day, and it doesn't bother her friends or her family as this is what urban youths do.

However, Sanjana Saraf differs, and says, “Family interventions, social interventions and friends intervention is extremely important. One must not spend more than one hour a day on the Internet. Regular outings and holidays should be scheduled so that family people who might be addicted to their virtual world can decrease the level of addiction and the subsequent repercussions.”

Suicides and cyber crime is not that big in India at the moment but we are heading towards that grey area at a much faster rate then we like to think. It is time now that everyone makes a conscious decision about their choices, especially about their virtual world. The best way to avoid any extreme repercussion is to spend limited time on the net and also to look for signs that might indicate that a person is prone to suicide. Facebook has a page with the link- that reports people who post suicidal contents on the site. Blow the alarm if anyone feels that he/she is suicidal or posting certain things that might be suicidal in nature. You might just save a life.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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