This is such a heartbreaking story coming out of Abuja. A young boy allegedly hangs self over game loss.
According to a report “He was playing a game with his younger brothers. He lost and went inside the room and hanged himself. He was apparently 8-years-old. Apparently the parents weren’t around when it happened and maybe no adult either. We just cannot know the exact details of the situation; something sounds out of place. So many questions? could this be true? how?……
According to ParentInvestment after getting angry for losing the game, he went into the room, got a skipping rope and hung himself. The story went on to state that his younger siblings watched him hang himself because they had watched it before a number of times. They just watched their brother until he died.
It is such a tragic situation is so many ways. First, that a young child could get so angry because he lost a simple game with his siblings and therefore consider hanging himself. Secondly, that these children would think that something so dangerous was a kind of game because they saw it in a movie? Does this mean that the line between reality and fiction is so blurred? what will happen when Virtual reality becomes widely used? Lastly, are children equipped to know what to do in the case of emergencies? For his siblings to apparently have watched him and not stopped him or called out for help; makes you wonder what they knew about how to react to emergencies or danger.
There are too many troubling aspects to this story.
So what can parents do?
Monitor What They Watch
Monitor what children are watching AND talk about what they are watching. In addition to monitoring what they watch it is best to be present as much as possible and to talk with them about how they are processing the content and what they are learning. It is only while communicating that you can understand how they interpret the content they are consuming.
Prepare them for Emergency
Assuming the younger siblings actually noticed that their brother was in danger, would they have known what to do? Do your children know what constitutes an emergency? And do they know what to do? I heard of an unfortunate story recently where two brothers were left in the pool for a split second. By the time the adult supervising them returned one brother had drowned. The other sibling simply said “he was playing under water” not knowing that his brother was in danger.
Do your children know how to stay safe in the pool, at home, around ropes? This is a good time to assess your family emergency process. Who do you call in an emergency, do you have a first aid box, who can administer basic first aid?
[Read: Is you home fireproof]
With children all it takes sometimes is a split second, whether in the pool, playing a dangerous game or an accident. Never leave children alone without a trusted adult there to supervise them. If you hire a nanny do not turn your nanny into the cook, cleaner, laundry man and gateman at the same time. The nanny is meant to keep an eye on your toddler and cannot do that if so busy with other work. An older friend of mine always told me that for young children there should always be an adult and a half per child!
We pray for the family of this young boy and also hope that his siblings will get the necessary therapy to deal with the trauma. No one can imagine what they would feel as they understand the gravity of the situation; the sad reality that this was a dangerous and fatal game.
Pleas take the time to talk to your entire household about dangers in the home and to discuss what to do in the case of an emergency. Have phone numbers handy in the house, get a home phone that always has credit, leave a copy of keys to your house with a trusted neighbour or family member and have a working extinguisher.