Abuse | Teen Suicide | Teen
Internet and Emotional Neglect
If a parent were to deny their
child or teen food, most people would agree that the
parent was guilty of neglect. If they were to
deliberately take food away, for example as punishment,
we might go further and call this abuse.
But what do we call it when a
depressed, suicidal teenager depends on the Internet for
emotional support and the parent takes their Internet
Sadly, we at EQI know that this
actually happens, and more often than most people would
ever imagine. This week alone three teens have told us
their parents have taken away their Internet all
together, stopped them from going online when they need
to, or blocked the chat group which they rely on for
Currently, such abuse of power by
parents is still legal in every country we know of. We
would like to raise the public's awareness of this and
contribute to a campaign to get the laws changed.
January 31, 2010
writing about two UK teens who met
Note: Stopping a teenager from
communicating with their friends may be legally
considered emotional neglect. Vanessa Gardianos writes:
becomes relevant when parents ignore or reject their
child or isolate him or her from interacting with
other children or adults (Italics added)
See note 75 on page 11 from ADOLESCENT
SUICIDE: A CALL FOR PARENTAL LIABILITY
Update - Feb 8, 2010
Here is a letter from one of the paents of a teen we
referred to above:
will ask you politely to discontinue any email
communication with my daughter
____ _______ We are
taking steps to block internet sites which you
frequent. More communication with our
daughter will mean additional site block.
____ ____, MD
Ironically on the same day we also
received a letter from another parent of teenagers
thanking us for our work!
I have not had the chance to
read everything on your website but,
would be happy to offer my feedback.
I agree with everything I
have read so far. I also shared it with a
friend who has 4 kids and she was also thrilled
about your site.
Here is part of a chat about the
parents who blocked their daughter from the chat support
PV: did u ever talk to _____?
rbxx: yeah but she cant come on anymore
rbxx: her mom blocked it
PV: yeah... and her dad sent us a letter!
rbxx: oh wow....about what?
PV: ill show it to u...
PV: jas... (that means just a sec :) )
PV: here it is...
PV: yeah... how do u feel when u read that?
PV: i know... its not a good feeling though i bet
rbxx: and i miss talking to her
PV: yeah. i feel sad about it.
PV: what do u think of parents having the legal
power to stop their teenagers from getting emotional
rbxx: i think that it is messed up....i mean it's a
good thind to get emotional support and it helps us get
through things in are life that are hard and for are
parents to have the power to take that way....it's
Another chat about RHM's parents stopping her from
getting emotional support online
PV (04:38:53 AM): can u also give pple
____'s email address
PV (04:39:01 AM): she asked us to do that
before her father wrote to us
PV (04:39:25 AM): of course he is reading her
mail but i think shes still getting it
bec (04:41:10 AM): I don't have her email
PV (04:41:21 AM): okill get it...
PV (04:42:37 AM): email@example.com
bec (04:46:43 AM): Wait wait. So the
person whose father took away her internet in that EQI
article you sent me... That is her?... ____?
PV (04:47:00 AM): yep
bec (10:48:05 PM): I am very sad at this
PV (10:48:13 PM): yeah me too. it is
almost like someone dying.
Some things she said in the chat
We will be adding some of the last few things we could
save from the chat history before ___ was stopped from
talking to her friends. We want to show people what kind
of person she is....ie funny, caring, smart.
Here is one example of what she said:
well i can send lots of hugs (its magic dont try this
at home) *hug* SWISH!!!
PV (04:38:21 AM): say did u used to talk to
jake (04:40:04 AM): yeah. she was nice but
I heard her parents blocked her from chatting
jake (04:40:12 AM): Alanna's parents did
PV (04:40:20 AM): did u read this?
(04:40:22 AM): http://www.eqi.org/teens_internet_emotional_neglect.htm
jake (04:40:33 AM): no, but i am now
PV (04:40:39 AM): ok
jake (04:41:23 AM): yeah, that sucks
jake (04:41:43 AM): my mom would block
this site if she knew about it
jake (04:42:06 AM): but luckily she doesnt
PV (04:42:55 AM): why do u think she would
jake (04:43:15 AM): because she thinks
sites about depression are bad
jake (04:43:48 AM): a couple times she got
on my computer and saw sites about depression and got
angry at me
jake (04:44:07 AM): my parents really dont
understand depression at all