Our kids are glued to their phones every moment that they can be, unless we have enacted strict digital device rules and regulations in our households. Without parental controls programmed into their phones, there is little control that we have over what our children watch. Until our children talk to us about what they are watching, we have little idea as to what to talk to them about what they are watching. Is it safe? Do they understand? Are there questions that they need answered? What are kids at school saying? Recently, a popular social media star came under fierce scrutiny when he published a video exposing a recently deceased individual who committed suicide. Logan Paul is a well-known icon among young kids, adolescents, and teens. Boasting over 15 million subscribers on the platform YouTube, in addition to millions of followers on other platforms, the young star has a massive reach. It is because of the millions of views Logan Paul gets on each of his “vlogs” that his recent video story including his trip to Aokigahara, a forest in Japan known as the “suicide forest” came under criticism. Do young kids understand mental illness, death, and death caused by suicide? Was Paul’s demographic mentally mature enough to handle the disturbing images he showed and realize that the mockery he made of the man’s recent death was unacceptable?
Here are some talking points for discussing this topical event with your kids:
- Do you know who Logan Paul is? Your child might not even be aware of who Logan Paul is, what vlogging is, or how popular Logan Paul is worldwide.
- Have you heard of Logan Paul? What do you know about him? Icons of young kids can seem larger than life. It is important to get an understanding of your child’s perspective, especially if there is any idolization. Paul is known to flaunt his extremely high income and success, attempting to inspire kids to follow their own path.
- Do you know about the video everyone is talking about and did you see it? Before diving into an undue conversation regarding heavy topics like suicide, get to know your child’s perspective first.
- What do you know about suicide? Death is a difficult topic for younger kids to understand. However, it is important that kids realize suicide cannot be reversed and that people who kill themselves leave families behind. Kids also need to know that if they are ever feeling hopeless and having suicidal thoughts, they can reach out for help.
- Have you ever had difficult thoughts about your life? Research has found that an increasing amount of young children, adolescents, and teenagers are taking their lives. Our children who are in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction are prone to depression and suicidal ideations which need to be discussed.
- Have your friends talked about suicide? Suicides among young people can happen in ‘clusters’ after friends plan together or talk about it at length.
- Do you understand the repercussions Logan Paul is facing? The problem with Paul’s video is that he makes light of the situation and does not highlight the ripple effect a suicide can have. His large ego and personality, in addition to his fans’ loyalty, might get in the way of kids understanding the severity of the situation, both the publishing of the video and of suicide itself.
- Suicide is not a joke: The most important point we need to drive home about the Logan Paul situation is that suicide is not a joke, is not entertainment, and should not be exploited.
If you are having difficult thoughts of suicide, please reach out. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.The family that grows together, stays together. At Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center, we are bringing families back together on the journey to recovery. Call us today for information on our long-term residential treatment programs for adolescent and teenage boys: 662-598-4214.