Call it “Culture of Death” contagion or call it something else, but American youngsters are killing themselves at what appears a record rate. In fact, strikingly, there are now even cases of suicide involving eight- and nine-year-olds.
The spike mainly involves middle-schoolers, however. As USA Today reports, “The suicide rate among 10- to 14-year-olds doubled between 2007 and 2014, for the first time surpassing the death rate in that age group from car crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014 alone, 425 middle schoolers nationwide took their own lives.”
The paper continues, “Researchers, educators and psychologists say several factors — increased pressure on students to achieve academically, more economic uncertainty, increased fear of terrorism and social media — are behind the rise in suicides among the young.”
Social media was highly implicated because it enables bullying to continue beyond school doors and hours. Yet while USA Today cites an expert lamenting that with “social media you can’t turn people off,” this is untrue. Electronic devices have off buttons and social-media-platform membership and participation aren’t compulsory, last I heard. The deeper problem is that parents allow kids too much screen time (and are often addicted themselves).
Pressure certainly can be a factor, yet emphasis on achievement is nothing new. Moreover, generally ignored is that while people can do things that, given man’s nature, will cause you to feel pressure, the operative word is “feel” — pressure is a feeling and thus comes from within.
The point? The pressure we put on ourselves varies with perspective. A person indifferent about winning or losing likely feels far less pressure in a tennis tournament than one to whom success is everything. And men are known to have killed themselves due to depression over being jobless and unable to provide. Yet if a father senses the truth — deeply, on an emotional level — that far more than money and comfort his family needs him, he won’t be likely to rob them of one of the last things they do have.
Of course, USA Today points out that youngsters, lacking adult perspective, tend to make mountains out of molehills. This is nothing new, however. What is different is that today children are more likely to be raised with a superficial, materialistic worldview placing emphasis on style over substance.
As for economic uncertainty and various fears, these can be factors. Here also, though, perspective comes into play — and not just on the children’s part. Adults often fail to consider that with even little things being big to little ones, big things can seem downright terrifying. In other words, why are we burdening children with doomsday theses such as catastrophic man-caused global warming?
Answer: People unwise or power hungry enough to subscribe to something so unscientific will also lack the wisdom or good will to refrain from trying to, Hitler Youth style, get ‘em while they’re young. But children should be allowed to have a childhood.
Yet there are some important factors in youth suicide the USA Today-cited experts don’t address:
• Break-up of the family — kids today are far more likely than previous generations to grow up in broken or unstable homes. And much fear and uncertainty are caused when children know their “family government” is incomplete, weak and/or unstable.
• Snowflake mentality — coddled kids raised in “safe spaces” by parents indulging their every whim will have more trouble handling the rejection, denial of desires, and disappointment common in the outside world.
• Moral corruption — it’s ideal to have a child’s heart and an old soul. Today’s decadent culture, where kids are inundated with sin, creates childish souls and dark hearts. Yet sin is essentially psychological poison, which is why Greek philosopher Aristotle noted that living a moral life is necessary for happiness. As Thomas Jefferson put it, “Without virtue, happiness cannot be.”
Yet perhaps the deepest reason for youth suicide, one lying at the heart of all the rest, is our loss of faith. And a person doesn’t have to believe in God, only in human psychology, to understand this factor’s relevance. For while children aren’t wont to indulge deep philosophical thought, the truth will out and is this: If we’re mere chemicals-and-water organic robots, if nothing can truly be right or wrong, better or worse, because there’s no God and “Who is to say?” what is the point of life? What inherent meaning is there?
With the peddling of the godless brand of evolution and with at most six percent of teens believing in Moral Truth (absolute by definition), it’s evident this nihilistic message has taken hold.
There are telling correlations relating to this, too: The higher juvenile suicide rate coincides with our increasing godlessness. Moreover, the most godless among us — liberals — have a higher suicide rate than do normal people. This is no surprise because liberals also have higher rates of psychological distress, with anxiety and depression being two examples.
This just goes to show that you can choose to be godless, but can’t avoid being less because of it.