14-year-old boy kills self after father fails to buy smartphone for online classes

Updated: 01 August, 2020 13:43 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Chennai

A case of suspicious death has been filed and officials are probing the case

Photo used for representational purposes
Photo used for representational purposes

A 14-year-old boy in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu committed suicide on Wednesday as his father could not buy him a smartphone for online classes being held by the school due to lockdown in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

The class 10 boy studied at the Vallalar High School and he killed himself at his home, according to NDTV report.

The child’s father, a cashew farmer, said, “Moving to Class 10, my son asked for a mobile phone for online classes. I told him I'd get him (one) after I got cash for my cashews but he got angry.”

A case of suspicious death has been filed and officials are probing the case.

During lockdown, several poor families have suffered due to lack of money, salary cuts and even job losses. There have been numerous instances from across India of children committing suicide due to lack of means to attend online classes.

Recently, a man in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh sold his cow to pay the school fees of his daughter and buy a smartphone for her to continue with the online classes. After his ordeal went viral on social media, the state administration offered to provide relief to the family. Read More Here.

In the first week of July, a 50-year-old farmer allegedly committed suicide after an argument with his daughter over his failure to buy a smartphone for her to continue her online classes.

Last month, a class 11 student from Punjab allegedly hanged herself as her parents were not able to buy her a smartphone to use for online classes because of their poor financial condition.

In a similar incident, a class 9 student in Kerala set herself ablaze for not being able to attend online classes as she did not have a smartphone.

With educational institutions switching to online classes, the academicians have warned of ‘digital divide’ as children from poor families have limited access to Internet and gadgets like smartphones. Much worse is that in rural areas, there are families who can’t afford technology and even if they do, there are obstacles like connectivity issues.

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First Published: 01 August, 2020 08:12 IST

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