The most common characteristics are that they are adolescents between 12 and 16 years old who may present depressive symptomatology and suicidal risk, ie:
– Significant decrease in academic performance
– Moodiness and irritability
– Sadness, pessimism and apathy
– Personal dissatisfaction with low self-esteem.
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Why do they do it? What drives them to gamble?
The reasons why an adolescent may start with this very serious problem depend on the situation in which he/she finds himself/herself. On the one hand, for those with depression, it is a way of not regretting the idea of suicide, since the fact of overcoming the challenges induces them to get more and more involved until they reach the stage of suicide. Likewise, there are cases where they enter out of curiosity and get carried away by a risk exposure, enter into challenging competition and end up creating dependency.
Are they children with, a priori, suicidal or depressive ideas or is it rather that they want to be part of something?
They may be suicidal adolescents, usually with moderate depression since they still have the energy to initiate and follow the rules of the game. Or on the other hand, adolescents who are looking for challenges, although the latter may get stuck or quit when approaching the final test of suicide. Likewise, there are also children who seek their identity because they feel lonely and get caught up in the dynamics of the game.
What should parents look for in order to detect if their child may be involved in something like this?
It is very important for parents to be aware of “with whom” their children communicate on social networks and to supervise which pages they visit. They can also limit access websites and set time limits on Internet connection, computer and other technologies. They should also be alert to warning signs such as sudden and strange behavioral changes, isolation, changes in habits or social relationships.
How to prevent children from these games?
The most important prevention is that there is good communication between parents and children, that parents show daily interest in their children, in their concerns and inform themselves (without judging) about the networks in which they are connected, as well as knowing their friendships and, if possible, their family dynamics.
This article has been written jointly by the authors, Dr. Jordi Sasot Llevadot and Jenifer Andreu Sanchez (Child-Adolescent Clinical Psychologist).