Hong Kong’s Wen Wei Po newspaper recently ran a report about suicides in the Chinese city that, according to Netease Games, included this rather shocking tidbit: a seven-year-old Hong Kong girl attempted to commit suicide last year, thinking that she could respawn in real life the same way she was able to in video games.
As is usually the case with these stories, though, the ultimate cause of her desire to kill herself had nothing to do with suicide. According to the report, many child suicide attempts are related to parental and academic pressure, and that seems to have been true in this case. The girl in question had middle-of-the-road grades—about average for her class—but her parents put so much pressure on her to perform that she became convinced it would be easier to simply die and respawn.
Thankfully, her suicide attempt wasn’t successful.
Still, it’s telling that the tragedies involving Chinese youth and games almost always also have a strong connection to education. China’s education system is a pressure-cooker, and often it seems to be that, rather than video games, that’s actually behind these tragic incidences of suicide and violence.