Social responsibility could have saved this girl’s life.


A young girl died needlessly because her Tumblr post and video about her pending suicide wish went ignored. And ignored for weeks.

We all have an obligation to do something when we see or hear something like this. Social media is about connections and someone, anyone who this young girl’s posts should have used theirs to voice concern.

We all have a social responsibility.

Just like we would call 911 if we saw an accident, fire or were witnessing a robbery, people have a responsibility to escalate things they see online.

Get on the phone and call the police. Alert Tumblr. Call the local press. Do something. Be a caring human being. Save a life. Let’s not let this ever let this happen again.

19 year-old Olivia Prenpaze posted a video on April 9th that went disregarded by everyone who saw it until her final and successful suicide attempt. I say final, because this wasn’t the first time, Olivia had tried. She had tried every year for several years to kill herself on May 1. In this year’s video Olivia thought she would be successful. Why did no one alert the authorities? Did no one near her see her heartbreaking cry for help? I find that so hard to believe. Did everyone who saw it think it was a fake?

So what can a parent do?

The first thing I did upon hearing this was to put a Google Alert in place on both of my children. Will it help? I’m not sure, but it certainly can’t hurt.

And there are companies like Safety Web where parents can monitor their children’s activities online. Is it a breach of their privacy? Not in my book if you know you have a child with issues like Olivia. Safety Web is only $100 a year, which is certainly worth a child’s life. (And no I didn’t receive payment of any sort for including them in this post.)

I also shared Olivia’s video with my teens. We had an open discussion about this. I wanted them to know if they ever see any videos like this they need to bring them to my attention and that they have a social responsibility to communicate anything of this nature. Here’s the link so you can share this with yours if you choose. I’m not trying to exploit Olivia’s death by sharing this video, but it’s something I thought my teens should see in order to understand.

It’s so sad to think how little social responsibility could have saved this girl’s life.

And let’s not forget Tumblr and YouTube. I personally think mechanisms should be in place on their platforms to uncover content like this. They, too, need to show a little social responsibility.

13 Responses to “Social responsibility could have saved this girl’s life.”

  1. heartbreaking, and all too relevant. I’ve called several parents at disconcerting news, often to thanks, sometimes to anger. But I will not be the one to wish I had … and hadn’t. thx for sharing.

    • You don’t know how happy it makes me feel to know someone takes the bull by horns.

      Holly Pavlika
  2. I think it’s great that you took the time to share this with your children. It’s not an easy topic to discuss but is definititely worthy of the time.

    • Talking to your teen is the most important thing you can do as a parent. I’m so happy I have a decent relationship with mine that I can talk to them about anything.

      Holly Pavlika
  3. Reading this story and then watching her video brought me to tears and broke my heart.

    As someone who was bullied as a kid, this hits home on so many levels and it is SO sad that this girl decided to take her own life.

    It is a topic we talk a lot about in our house as my children are right at that age when other kids become horrible to each other. I’m certainly going to share this with them.

    C.C. Chapman
    • Thanks! My kids say, “I’m good.” But this makes you wonder. I searched pages and pages after googling my DD’s name last night.

      Holly Pavlika
  4. Yes, this is incredibly tragic, and I would never, NEVER, want to see this happen to someone. I wish something HAD been done and this didn’t happen. But…here’s where I have to play devil’s advocate.

    She previously tired to commit suicide FOUR TIMES and no one took notice? Four years in a row on the same date is a pretty big warning sign. That’s a major issue right there.

    Then, as mentioned here, did everyone think it was a fake? That’s another major issue. So much is “reality” tv or “viral stunts” that it can be difficult to ascertain real from fake. If no one had seen her before, they might just think it’s a joke. The same as “what? I’m gonna kill him!” usually doesn’t end in murder.

    This brings into question how we look at content we see online. Setting up Google Alerts and monitoring through other services is a simple “better safe than sorry” solution.

    You never want to see something like this happen. But again, should she really have even been in a position to do this if she tried it 4 years in a row?

    • I agree. I know as a parent if Olivia had been my child come April 30, I would have been handcuffed to her.

      Holly Pavlika
  5. Talking opening about suicide and cutting and psychosis are important. However, this case doesn’t seem to be a cut and dry situation by any means. This 19 year old killed herself almost a full month BEFORE the date mentioned. And she had made countless attempts over the years. Clearly, since she was in therapy for many years, her parents did take notice and had tried to help her.

    Of course friends and visitors to the site should have alerted someone, and hopefully this post will encourage us all to be more active when surfing the internet. But I have a hard time condemning those who saw it and did nothing – even with hindsight – because it’s entirely possible that some did. Depression and psychosis are incredibly powerful diseases that have no easy solutions.

    Basically, I hate to see the parents vilified when we don’t know the entire story.

  6. Thanks for sharing Holly. So important for us all to pay attention… especially to what is going on in the lives of our own children.

    Ted Rubin
  7. This is an important post. When someone is screaming outloud that they feel alone and helpless, we should believe them. This is tragic.

    Suz Murphy

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