Parents alert: children’s videos would be motivating minors to take their own lives; these are the terrifying testimonies

On the balcony of an eighth floor in a residential building in Bucaramanga was Camila*, a 9-year-old girl who threatened to throw herself into the void because she couldn’t bear to see her parents in a divorce process. When her father took her in his arms and comforted her, she began to sing, with her legs still shaking and between sobs: “You will compensate the risk, don’t mine anymore, this will be our end, let’s flee from my yard now, no mine more”.

The man was surprised because although he had heard the rhythm before and knew that it was from some cartoons that she saw on the internet, he had not paid attention to the lyrics. She went to YouTube and searched for Mickecrack’s No Mines Más. When she got to the first minute of the video she saw two of the colorful characters join hands to jump off a building together.

The video was published on April 9, 2022, it has 13,520,443 views and almost 300,000 likes. The channel belongs to a famous Spanish Youtuber, Miguel Bernal Montes, 29 years old. Since 2016 he has been uploading content for children and adolescents on video games and musical parodies on his portal. It has 35.7 million subscribers.

Another of his successful songs is the one entitled I want to sleep. Felipe *, a 6-year-old boy listened to her one afternoon at her house. Seeing a yellow comic book dog carrying a bag on his back in the middle of the forest draws attention. The animal is heartbroken and cries all the way, remembering his human friend, who apparently passed away.

“I want to sleep, never wake up. Being with you, having an endless dream, ”she says in one of the parts of the song. Then the puppy appears with X’s in its eyes and sings: “What made me smile is what makes me suffer today. Wake up to live and live to suffer”. The content of the song was understood by Felipe’s mother * when the child began to cry at 5:30 in the afternoon because she wanted to go to bed to sleep and never wake up.

“I felt anguish seeing my son in such bad shape and saying that. He told me that he was very sad, but he did not know why, ”says the woman who contacted SEMANA. She adds that the child is usually very calm and he had never thrown a tantrum to go to bed so early. Between her and his father they comforted him, the boy was so bad that they gave him painkillers, “his face was hot and red as if he had a fever,” described the boy’s mother.

Concerns are growing about the content that minors can access online. – Photo: Weekly magazine

Felipe* only reproduced the video that has 97,087,597 views since October 30, 2019, the date it was released, also reports more than 1 million “likes” and most of the comments applaud it. From what is read, it is children and adolescents who write and talk about how sad the story is and that every time they hear it they do not stop crying, they even relate the death of some loved ones. “When I was 5 years old I sang this while crying.” “I remember when I was a little girl (SIC) and when I watched this song I just wanted to cry on a pillow (SIC)”, are some of the messages from subscribers.

For Jacqueline Cantor, a specialist in development and educational psychology, the songs leave a clear message of hopelessness in the face of difficulties, which is detrimental to early childhood children – from 0 to 6 years old – who are still learning language codes and identifying feelings. Children under these ages can fantasize that what they are seeing in the cartoon can also happen to them and think that their loved ones are going to die. They begin to experience mourning at that moment just by imagining it, with the aggravating circumstance that the song has a narrative of not solving the conflict, but submerging themselves in the desire to sleep to never wake up.

Cantor recommends that YouTubers and the creators of this type of content analyze to what extent the economic value brought by the number of reproductions and followers prevails over the social responsibility they have. Another of the Mickecrack videos that she analyzed is the one called Smile More, which talks about destruction and not dreaming of a future or goals, because that, instead of giving happiness, generates frustration. “I know it’s frustrating to have goals, if you don’t dream you won’t have to endure nightmares once again,” says one of the fragments of the song, while showing violent images of a kind of demon with bandages on his forearms and legs that breaks mirrors in your room. “I will destroy everything you could want. I will destroy everything you fear to lose. You will not be able to suffer if you love nothing anymore and in the end you will smile more”, is one of the refrains.

Francisco Cepeda, a doctor specializing in child psychiatry and secretary of the Colombian Association of Psychiatry, assures that this type of content offered by the Mickecrack channel carries a confusing message because it is apparently content for children with cartoons, bright colors and letters that are not explicit. , but they send contrary messages, which makes it difficult for control algorithms created by the platforms to limit the content to certain ages. In one part of that song he says that the way to happiness is to stop dreaming.

“Goodbye to the heart, forget your passion, live without more ambition, there was never another option. You suffer for all the things you want, I know it. You suffer for all those dreams you have, I know it. I will make you die alive and you will see, without emotions you will not suffer. I want you to smile more, more, more. Today you will rest in peace, peace, peace”, this is one of the stanzas that generated an alert among the investigators of the Cybernetic Center of the Criminal Investigation Directorate and the Police Interpol, who pointed out that the video promotes, through cyberinduction , the physical harm of boys and girls. The lyrics and music encourage aggressive behavior that also alludes to death.

Academic success must focus on preparing children and young people for life, and go beyond formulas and rote learning.
Suicide figures are alarming; It is the third cause of death in Latin America among young people between the ages of 15 and 19. – Photo: iStock

Suicide figures are alarming; It is the third cause of death in Latin America among young people between the ages of 15 and 19. In Colombia, 236 minors decided to take their own lives between January and September 2022, which represents an increase of 3.6 percent compared to the same period of the previous year. According to Dr. Rodrigo Córdoba, suicide among children between the ages of 10 and 14 increased by 12 percent. And one of the abrupt changes that society has had is access to social networks, from where all kinds of violations of minors can be found.

María Mercedes Ospina, coordinator of the Intellectus Niños program at the San Ignacio Hospital in Bogotá, indicates that a child associates learning in an imitative way, hence the concern for content such as the one offered by Mickecrack that manages to alter emotions. “It is not even suitable for adults,” says the specialist and agrees with other of her colleagues on the importance of analyzing each case individually to identify if there are underlying mental health problems, beyond managing emotions. She considers that it is necessary for the national government to set limits or labels on the contents and indicate which ones are suitable according to age.

From the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications of Colombia, they cannot cause the pages or channels to be closed, since they do not have the legal powers. But yes, preventively with the En Tic Confío program, create strategies that promote the development of digital skills to safely face the risks associated with the use of the Internet. It is the Police that takes sanctioning actions, it has blocked 17,594 pages that put the integrity of minors at risk. From the cyber center they confirmed to SEMANA that Mickecrack’s videos were reported to YouTube so that it validates the content in accordance with its security policies and takes action.

For their part, the youtuber’s work team informed SEMANA that the complaints made are taken out of context and that they are part of the animated series called Las perrerías de Mike, a story of positive values ​​about love, family and friendship. They assure that by stating otherwise “we will not hesitate to take legal action for all the insults and slander poured against the Mikecrack channel.”

While defining what actions will be taken in Colombia with this content, specialists recommend that parents exercise control over what their children see and explain other narratives when dealing with problems, such as that there are always solutions and that ceasing to exist is not one of them.

*Names changed for security

Parents alert: children’s videos would be motivating minors to take their own lives; these are the terrifying testimonies