7 suicides linked to internet social networking site

  1. How friends paid online tribute to dead youngsters

    • <LI class=byline>Sarah Phillips <LI class=publication>guardian.co.uk,
    • Wednesday January 23 2008
    This article was first published on guardian.co.uk on Wednesday January 23 2008. It was last updated at 15:03 on January 23 2008.

    [​IMG] Natasha Randall, Liam Clarke, Zachary Barnes, Dale Crole, Gareth Morgan and David Dilling. Photographs: Wales News Service

    Inquiries into the deaths of seven young people in south Wales have focused on the use of the online social networking site Bebo.

    Bebo is one of the most popular sites, alongside MySpace and Facebook. A free membership permits users to create and edit a profile, then add friends and post messages, photographs and videos.

    Two weeks ago, Natasha Randall, 17, posted a message on her otherwise upbeat profile page in tribute to Liam Clarke, 20, who hanged himself just after Christmas: "R.I.P Clarky boy!! gonna miss ya! allways remember the gd times! love ya x "

    Then on Sunday, she was found dead at her home, making her the first female in the apparent chain of suicides.

    Randall's profile is now inundated with comments from grieving friends, expressing disbelief at what has happened.

    Jade Knill writes: "I saw u tha day before babe I cnt believe you didnt tell me wat was going on…I wuldnt have cared wat it was or how long it took…I got all the time in the world 4 u…and u didnt have to do wat you did I was hear 4 u"

    The mother of Thomas Davies, 20, who committed suicide in February, days before the funeral of his friend David Dilling, said her son spent hours every evening on the internet. She said: "I think the problem is they do not know how to speak to adults about serious issues. They can speak to each other on the computer but do not know how to express their emotions in other ways."

    Special memorial pages – like a virtual book of condolence – have been set up since the deaths by grieving friends, who have posted messages and photographs in an attempt to come to terms with what has happened.

    One of Randall's best friends, who goes by the name Sexii Sebbi Anne, posted on the page "R.I.P. Tasha" yesterday: "i promised i would be here for u forever and u promised me the same but even tho i cnt see u i can feel you here with me i knw u are watchin over me and u sre still protectin me like u allways have i am soo lost without u n i wish the pain would stop but i knw it never will because ur never coming bak i love u my angel".

    Zachary Barnes, 17, was the fourth to commit suicide; he was found hanged from a washing line last August. A friend called Rio writes: "merry chrimbo. happy new year ! i jus wish yu was here for those to specail datess && i wish you was here for all optheer boring and dulls days…it aint the same. i love you zach."

    Other Bebo users have also left their mark on the victims' pages, intrigued to find out more or to leave messages of support.

    As someone writes on Clarke's page: "Itz realy hard for the rest off us u left behind".
  2. This is so scary, my kids go on Bebo. I am being paranoid I know but am beginning to wonder if some idiot might have put subliminal suggestions on there. There have been many reports in many areas of UK of these clusters of suicides all people who frequent the Bebo website.
    My heart goes out to those parents!
  3. I used to intern for a social networking site and I did a study on Bebo. I didn't know it was so popular with TEENS. In the United States, there's many more tweens and younger children on Bebo.
  4. so all the kids knew each other?
  5. This is awful. I agree with the poster who siad that kids just don't know how to talk to adults anymore and some people being bullies can post things that are hurtful.

    Online bullying needs to become a crime for all countries.
  6. i signed up for bebo years ago, because one of my friends was on it and sent me an invitation via email... but i never was active on it because i didn't know anyone else on there.

    reading this article just breaks my heart...
  7. This is heartbreaking.
  8. This is so sad. It is becoming more and more common. I do think that those sites can mask problems and kids are afraid to talk to someone that could help them. If it turns out to be a bullying issue and not something deeper rooted, it even sadder, b/c it could have been prevented. I personally don't think those sites do enough monitoring. If I had kids, I would not allow them to be on it. I'd even haul their butts to friends houses or whatever, to keep them off the computer.
  9. BagAngel, please don't worry, subliminal suggestions are an urban myth ... truly ...

    These ARE tragedies, but we cannot blame the internet, television, song lyrics or other things for people's mental health issues. They can be triggers, but they do not CAUSE suicide. People can be vulnerable and media can exacerbate mental health issues, but if they caused suicide, no one would be alive.
  10. I agree this is tragic, but I also agree with lorimatthews.
  11. This is incredibly sad. No child should be bullied ever, especially to the point where they begin to despise themselves so much, just terrible. I really feel for the tweens/teens nowadays in our society; there are so many new advances in technology which allows this cyber bullying to become increasingly more frequent. Something needs to be done about all of this, there is no excuse. I don't understand how children can be so mean. I think all of these social networking sites should at least come up with a way where the parents are aware that their children have an account with the site. The ultimate best thing to do is just end those sites.