KUCHING: Online trolling which is prevalent among social media users is believed to be among the factors that drove a 16-year-old teenage girl to suicide by jumping from the third floor of the MJC Batu Kawa building, here, on Monday.
In the incident, the girl was found dead at 8pm.
She had earlier at 3pm, run a poll on photo-sharing app Instagram with the question "Really Important, Help Me Choose D (die)/L (live)". Sixty-nine per cent of her online friends voted 'D'.
Commenting on this sad episode, Sarawak Welfare, Community Wellness, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah, advised social media users to stop being insensitive and making disparaging remarks about problems faced by their online friends.
"I believe those who voted 'D' did not expect the outcome of their action. I hope they have learnt a lesson and will be more sensitive, responsible and mature in the future.
"Their online banter had led to a fatal consequence. Teens who like to joke and ridicule others can cause the other party to feel ashamed, depressed and distraught to the point of wanting to commit suicide," she said when contacted by NSTP, here today.
Elaborating, Fatimah urged parents to observe their teenagers’ behaviour and not delay to act if symptoms of stress begin to show up.
"Statistics show that in Malaysia, the teenage group is the most stressful among other age groups. We have to get rid of the stigma and shame of seeking counselling," she added.
According to Fatimah, among the factors of teen stress are peer pressure; the negative impact of social media; fractured family and pressure to get good examination grades.
"The inability to manage stress effectively, and the lack of support from family and friends, can worsen symptoms of depression," she said.