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Russian watchdog notes number of child suicides halved since 2001

April 17, 15:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Since 2017, experts from Russia’s consumer and media watchdogs along with various public organizations have been pointing to the growing activities of those organizing suicide groups on social media

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MOSCOW, April 17. /TASS/. The number of child suicide cases in Russia has dropped by more than 50% from 2001, said Anna Popova, head of the country’s consumer rights watchdog, at a session of the Federation Council (upper house of parliament).

"The number of child suicide cases has been rapidly decreasing," she pointed out. "Until 2001, there was some growth, in 2001 the child suicide rate was 39.5 per 100,000 people, but the rate had decreased to 17.4 by 2015. Nevertheless, we should not let our guard down."

Popova also said that despite the fight against the dissemination of dangerous Russian-language content, there were a lot of websites in foreign languages which have slipped through the cracks. "Nowadays, our kids speak not one but several languages. We are active in the legal field and monitor Russian-language content, but if you type the English word ‘suicide’ into the search box, you will find a large amount of material that we have been fighting against in the Russian legal field," Popova said adding that this issue required consideration.

Since January 2017, experts from Russia’s consumer and media watchdogs along with various public organizations have been pointing to the growing activities of those organizing suicide groups on social media. At the same time, they have been moving from the VKontakte social network, which is their traditional platform, to Instagram. Teenage users get sucked into some kind of network game using themed hashtags and after that they are told to fulfill a number of specific tasks to become psychologically programmed for committing suicide.

Russia’s consumer and media watchdogs, the academic community and leading social media administrators have outlined a method to weed out suicidal content on social media. Every day, more than 150 communities dedicated to suicide are blocked.

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