teen suicide shattered phone online classes

Denis Safronov/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Teen dies by suicide after shattering the family smartphone he used for online classes

The case is among many highlighting the gap in access to education.

Oct 28, 2020, 5:16 pm

IRL

 

Edward Medeles

This story contains content related to suicide.

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A 16-year-old in Western India killed himself after smashing his family’s phone screen, the Independent reported.

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Rohit Varak lived in the western state of Goa and dropped the smartphone shared by his family of six while he was using it to attend online classes earlier in October. He was reportedly found dead four days later.

The case is among many reported suicides in India related to the country’s lockdown. Many schools in India remain closed, and families, such as Varak’s, are struggling with access to education and technology. 

“It would have cost about Rs 3,000 ($40) to repair the phone,” Rohit’s sister Neha Varak, 18, told the Independent. “My father did not have that kind of money.”

Varak’s uncle also spoke with the Independent and said the family has been heavily affected by the pandemic and that they are not earning enough to meet daily expenses. Varak’s father works as a private bus driver, an industry hit hard since the country’s lockdown.   

Other members of the family, like Rohit’s 12-year-old brother Gyanu, have been unable to attend classes since the phone broke. Neha’s future in nursing college is also in jeopardy given the phone and family’s financial state. 

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“I want to be a professional nurse, but how will I afford it without any scholarship or external support?” Neha told the Independent

The pandemic in India has highlighted large pre-existing inequalities within the country’s schooling system, Ankur Sarin, a school systems academic, told the Independent

A survey, conducted between July and September, found 20% of households don’t have a smartphone—and among those who did, almost a third lacked access to a 4G connection.

For more information about suicide prevention or to speak with someone confidentially, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (U.S.) or Samaritans (U.K.).

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If you are a teen dealing with depression or other mental health issues, see PBS.org for a list of resources and organizations that can help you. If you are an adult, see Mental Health Resources.


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H/T the Independent

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*First Published: Oct 28, 2020, 5:16 pm