There is an urgent need to deal with the increased number of suicides among teenagers in South Korea. In order to deal with this unfortunate cultural clash, there is the need to identify the causes of this dramatic rise in suicide cases among young people. Therefore, the purpose of this essay is to analyze suicide among the teenagers by using various primary and secondary sources that have analyzed the possible causes of suicides in among the teenagers. For the purpose of analysis, I will consider a popular film acted in Belgium known as Ben X.
This essay will answer the following questions, what the role of the film in conveying teenage suicide message to the audience? What are the causes of teenager suicides and how can they be managed? What is the role of the society in helping teenagers? The paper will critically analyze the film and connect it with another secondary source that discusses the issue of teenage suicide. The main focus of the paper is to come up with ways that can be used by people in Asia to overcome teenage suicide cases that are on an increase in recent times.
The Belgian drama film “Ben X” is an unusual story about an autistic teenager who goes through the painful adversities from being bullied every day in school. Ben, the autistic main character, believes himself as a general student like his classmates. Such belief, however, is not acceptable to others. Rather, Ben is considered as different, abnormal, or even disabled teenager. The harsh world of a technical school functions for him like a chaotic hell. Ben is a source of everyday bullying for other adolescents. There is no barrier that can protect him from his enemies. Even the teachers do not give a helping hand for Ben. Fortunately, the pariah tried to overcome with all of the adversities he faces through playing the Massive Multi-user Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG), named Archlord.
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The drama uses both non-verbal communication and verbal communication to convey the message – the need to help teenagers who are faced with many issues in life. For example, we see Ben using the mirror as a sign of reflecting his life. This communicates to the audience effective as it indicates to them that Ben is being disturbed by the issues that are happening in his school life. It also indicates the desperation that Ben is in due to the unwanted circumstances that he finds himself in school. Nonverbal communication technique such as instances where Ben is talking to himself indicates that he is undergoing some hard psychological times.
This shows the failure of the school system in helping the students overcome various psychological problems that they develop due to the school environment. This has come out clearly in the drama where we see that the teachers do not take initiatives to protect the weak students from being bullied by others. The failure by the teachers to come up with a system of providing a conductive environment for both academic and social development of the students can be considered the principal source of teenager psychological problems that leads to them taking their lives.
The drama conveys that the kind of school environment that Ben has to live in each and every day causes some emotional problems. This can be connected to the rise in teenagers committing suicide in South Korea. The school system has failed to come up with mechanisms of protecting the teenagers from being bullied by those who are psychically strong. This makes them feel weak and unwanted in the society thereby resulting to them taking their lives through suicides. The case of Ben not getting any assistance from teachers indicates that students sometimes have to undergo some social problems in school, which can be managed.
John wood in his book,’ Teen Suicide’ is in an agreement with what the film conveys i.e. bullying is one of the reasons for teenagers committing suicide. The book shows that bullying, that one suffers as a teenager in any given setting, for example, in the school environment, if not dealt with may result in psychological problems such as stress and depressions that, in turn, may force one to consider suicide as a solution to the problem (John 28).
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The film and various psychologists are in agreement that there is an urgent need for the society to put in place various mechanisms of protecting teenagers from being bullied especially in a school setting. The school authorities can introduce disciplinary actions, which can be taken against those found bullying others. Therefore, it is advisable for school managements in South Korea to introduce disciplinary mechanism to protect students from being bullied by others, and this will go a long way in reducing stress and depression among teenagers which usually leads to them committing suicide.
The film also depicts Ben’s withdrawal from other activities committing most of his time playing an Archord, an online game. It is clear that Ben opts to play Archord in order to avoid being bullied with others or as a way to move away from the un-accommodative environment. Withdrawal is a major sign among teenagers who are undergoing some psychological challenges. They tend to withdraw from class work, socializing with others, and they direct their attentions to the things that reduce interaction between them and others. Therefore, those around a teenager who is behaving in this manner should help him to manage what he/she is undergoing before the issues become too much for him and he decides to commit suicide.
Teachers’ failure to deal with teenager issues affecting them in school can be analyzed from another point of view. The school should have in place a guidance and counseling department where students like Ben can go for counseling. This message is clearly communicated to the intended audience such as educational stakeholders who are supposed to develop a mechanism of helping students overcome stress and depression. The film passes this message by indicating that if such kind of mechanism were in place Ben would not have committed a suicide.
The irony is used in the film to describe the failure of the society to help teenagers overcome various issues that affect their lives. It is ironical that those who are expected to protect the students are involved in making their lives unbearable in school. Teachers should act as custodians of students on behalf of parents and guardians, but, in the film, they fail terribly in this crucial role. They do nothing to protect Ben from bullies and it results into him committing suicide. Instead, his fellow students who are supposed to help him adapt to school life turn out to be bullies. The director’s main objective is to let the audience know that those expected to handle the teenagers’ issues fail their mission (Nancy 67).
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Disguise has been used by the film’s director to convey the message to the audience. Ben’s friend and his parent fake his death with an aim of revenging. They achieve their objective by exposing the classmates who have caused pain to Ben. The main purpose of the film is to show that it is possible to give hope to the teenagers who are at point of committing suicide. This can be done by handling the sources of psychological problems that incite the teenagers to commit suicide. Ben’s hope of living a better life is restored when the source of bulling is exposed.
The film has fully addressed the issue of teenagers and the possible factors that may make one commit suicide. The director has achieved his goals of talking to the audience about the importance of helping teenagers handle issues such as stress, depression and bullies. This film provides a good learning and training ground for parents and teachers, who interact with teenagers the most often, on how to handle them.
The secondary data is directly connected to the subject of my essay as they help me to answer, to what extent do communities care for teenager outcasts in school? What are the flaws in attitudes of communities? Why some teenagers could not help committing suicide as their last decision?
There is a need to understand the response of the society to a teenager who is an outcast in school. In most cases, the communities contribute to adding pain to their wounds instead of helping the teenagers handle them. As it was the case in “Ben X”, the community tends to be a source of bulling to the teenagers who are school outcasts. This becomes the source of stress and depression to the teenagers and thus, they decide to commit suicide. The communities fail to help teenagers overcome stress and depression by restoring back their hope. Instead, they make them feel unwanted in the society.
The only way for society to overcome high cases of teenage deaths among the school outcasts is to come up with ways of providing qualified help and support to these young people. It is possible to ensure that these teenagers acquire technical skills that can help them earn a living in the future. There is the need for communities in Asia to embrace the culture of restoring hope among teenager school outcasts rather than condemning them. In the film, Ben’s parent and friend restore his hope of living by organizing for him a revenge strategy. The communities should help such teenagers by ensuring them with life skills that are vital for their survival. This will make a significant contribution to reducing suicide cases among the teenagers.
The letter by the outcast teenager describes how the teenager was supposed to acquire social skills that would help her in the future. However, instead, the environment dehumanized her (Abigail 3). The teenager has seen those supposed to provide her with the needed help bulling her.
The letter indicates that those around a teenager may be the cause of his/her suicide. They may provide an environment which is not conducive to survival. The environment may cause depression and stress among the teenagers which are unmanageable resulting to them committing suicide. Ben also found himself in the same environment which was very unfriendly. Therefore, the society should ensure that the environments within which teenagers live in are friendly for their survival.
Another factor that came out clearly among the scholars is that depression and stress are the main contributing factors to the alarming increase of teenage suicides in Asia. The director of the film brings to us the main source of depression among the teenagers. Bulling makes them feel unwanted, and this scenario is shown by Ben who suffers bullying from his classmates.
Therefore, it is clear that there is cultural crash in communities in Asia thereby leading to a high number of suicides among teenagers. The stakeholders are to be blamed for the cultural clash being witnessed. The educational stakeholders and parents should develop with mechanisms of helping those teenagers who are faced with social and psychological problems that force them to commit suicide. This film has played a critical role in conveying the message of the need for communities to raise and fight the increasing number of suicide among teenagers.
In conclusion, there is the urgent need for people from Asian countries to find a solution to the suicide among teenagers.