Suicide was a major killer of young children who spend hours online, according to government figures. By connecting to the internet at all hours, young people are able to plan group suicides instead of individual suicides Many of these are reactions to popular and famous stars committing suicide. Suicides among stars are responsible for triggering copycat behavior. South Korea is experiencing a rising suicide rate, poorly influenced by suicide of high-profile victims such as the former president and the business tycoon Chung Mong-hun.
13,055 people killed themselves in 2002 which increased from 778 the previous year and was more than the number of people responding to the 1998 Asian financial crisis. The National Statistical Office (NSO) said that 24.2 out of every 100,000 South Koreans commit suicide each year after 1994. The increasing suicide rates are a reflection on social conflicts, economic hardships, feuds between the sexes, as well as domestic violence. Overall, suicide is the fourth largest killer of people in South Korea. Many of the suicides in South Korea are linked to financial problems. Because of the reputation attached to Koreans for collective behavior, when they fail to meet conformity standards placed by families, schools, and work places, they opt for death over admitting failure.
A social psychologist from Seoul National University, Choi Incheol, stated that when a person’s values lie within the group to which they belong instead of themselves, they will have a relatively low rate of suicide within that family-bound society. While South Korea once had traditional family values they are slowly decreasing in terms of birthrates and increasing divorce rates. Cases where business executives are caught in financial scandals often result of suicide at the shame of being caught and having made foolish mistakes. One of the executives from Hyundai was caught in 2000 having doctored company books which hid $500 million of transfers to North Korea. Another example was a woman in Seoul who was not able to pay her high credit card bills and instead of admitting to the defeat, she took her own life and those of her children. Underage women who are unmarried and pregnant as well as teenagers who do not meet the highest grades in school have been found to commit suicide at an increasing rate as well.
The additional pressure of failing to wed and bare children inside of wedlock for women causes additional suicides. Young women in their 20’s and 30’s will not risk facing their father or other family members, or bring shame upon them and will instead opt for suicide to end their suffering and simultaneously prevent shame from befalling their families. It is only the women in this case, who must fear the repercussions of their pregnancy, and not the men who were involved.