SEOUL, Aug. 30 (Korea Bizwire) – The widespread depiction of suicide in TV series and online cartoons is numbing the minds South Korean adolescents, as a recent report has claimed too much exposure could have a negative impact, including copycat suicides in the worst-case scenario.
According to findings from a joint study conducted by the Ministry of Education and the Suicide and School Mental Health Institute released on Wednesday, scenes depicting suicide in detail are common in the South Korean media, with 110 scenes from 48 prime time TV series found to contain suicide.
Among the scenes collected during the survey, over 75 percent showed the motives and background stories behind each suicide scene, including location and details on methods involving medication and explicit directions on how it was obtained.
In many of the popular online cartoon series, the topic of suicide was dealt with lightly, while also depicting means of suicide and paraphernalia used in a detailed manner.
However, the report also found adolescents tend to hold a more favorable view of suicide scenes in the media compared to their older counterparts, while showing little interest in the need for regulating suicide content.
Yu Hyun-jae, a professor at the School of Communications at Sogang University who led the study, said, “A significant number of TV drama series and webtoons include explicit depictions of suicide, which can have a negative impact on viewers including copycat suicide.”
In Austria, the suicide rate dropped 20 percent four years after regulations on suicide content in the media were imposed.
With similar regulations in place in the U.S., U.K., Australia and Finland concerning the amount of suicide content available in the media, the Ministry of Education and the Suicide and School Mental Health Institute are heading in the same direction by holding a seminar on Thursday to discuss the link between suicide content in the media and the suicide rate among South Korean adolescents, which will be held at Ferrum Tower in Seoul.
During the seminar, presentations on the issue of suicide among adolescents with relevant statistics are set to be held with the hopes of raising awareness in South Korean society.
“Every child is our child. Through this seminar, we’ll make it a priority to not leave a single child behind and raise them healthily and safely amid declining birth rates,” said Kim Sang-kon, the education minister.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)