14-year-old boy dies by suicide, cops suspect gaming addiction

Updated on Feb 17, 2022 11:38 AM IST
The parents and school teacher however shared that the boy did not show any sign of gaming addiction and that he was a bright student and fond of cricket
The cops on Wednesday said that the class 7 student was addicted to the online game Garena Free Fire, a famous battle royale mobile game, which was banned by the Government of India on Monday with other mobile apps, mostly from China. (Getty Images)
The cops on Wednesday said that the class 7 student was addicted to the online game Garena Free Fire, a famous battle royale mobile game, which was banned by the Government of India on Monday with other mobile apps, mostly from China. (Getty Images)
ByVijay Kumar Yadav

Mumbai: A 14-year-old boy, allegedly addicted to online gaming has died by suicide in central Mumbai’s Hindmata area on Sunday. The Bhoiwada police are probing his death to find out if any task or challenge in the game led the boy to take the extreme step.

The cops on Wednesday said that the class 7 student was addicted to the online game Garena Free Fire, a famous battle royale mobile game, which was banned by the Government of India on Monday with other mobile apps, mostly from China.

According to the police, the boy’s father, employed with a private construction company as designer, received a call from his son on Sunday evening at 7.22pm. Since he was travelling with his wife, he could not receive the call and when he called back a few minutes later, the boy didn’t answer phone calls.

The parents returned to their house and found the room was locked from inside. The father broke the glass frame above the door and unlocked the door to find that the boy had died by suicide. Bhoiwada police were informed and the body was sent to KEM Hospital for post-mortem.

Vijay Patil, deputy commissioner of police, zone 4 shared, “Preliminary probe has revealed that the boy was addicted to Free Fire online game, but what exactly triggered him to take the extreme step is still a mystery.”

The parents and school teacher however shared that the boy did not show any sign of gaming addiction and that he was a bright student and fond of cricket.

A police officer said, “The online game he was addicted to needed to be played in groups. So we are trying to find out who his friends were and who were his co-players in the game so as to ascertain if anything happened during the game that led him to take the drastic step.”

The police have sent his mobile phone to the forensic laboratory to retrieve all the data on it. His phone call details and internet browsing history is also being scrutinised. He mostly surfed online sites related to the online game and cricket on the internet, another officer said.

Since the server of the mobile game is located in Singapore, we will not instantly get the details of the gaming activity of the boy, DCP Patil said.

“No note written by the boy was found. Nothing important from his mobile conversations with his friends is found. His teachers say that he was studious. His parents also didn’t complain of anything suspicious,” said Jitendra Pawar, senior inspector of Bhoiwada police.

“We have registered an accidental death report and further probing the matter,” said the DCP. The game in question Garena Free Fire is last in the list of 54 apps banned by the government. The government decided to ban these mobile applications as they allegedly pose a threat to India’s security.

(If you need support or know someone who does, please reach out to a mental health specialist.) Helplines: Aasra: 022 2754 6669; Sneha India Foundation: +914424640050 and Sanjivini: 011-24311918

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