We are pleased to report that Grey-power was able to pull a string and somebody, not without influence, took a copy of the Vodafone ad offering an appalling game titled ‘Suicidal Squirrels’ to a Vodafone big-wig who was extremely unhappy about it. 

Vodafone will now ‘investigate’ the game and withdraw it. But this begs the question of who is ultimately responsible for game sponsorship. A Vodaphone employee found and promoted the game. It was advertised for downloading. 

That game, and doubtless countless others, promoted cruelty to animals and suicide – that is the bottom line. And it is not we, the silver surfers of this world who are responsible for the violent games and movies available to young people today. It is supposedly sensible, educated people within the workforce of the game invention organisations who are promoting this mindless mayhem. Young people take it on board because they assume it is ‘cool’!

Let’s look at some facts. The latest World Health Organisation figures are dated 2003, but are obviously relevant today. The organisation found at that time that globally 16 out of every 100,000 people committed suicide; or 1 every 40 seconds, and predicted that by 2020 this will have doubled to 1 every 20 seconds. Between 1955 and 2000 the global suicide rate increased by 60%. 

Suicide is the third leading cause of death of those aged 10 – 24 with youth suicides increasing at the greatest rate. Attempted suicides are 20 times more frequent than completed suicides. 

In 2004 the USA National Institute of Mental Health reported that for every teenage suicide there are 10 attempts. 

  • 1 in 5 thought about it.      
  • 1 in 6 planned how they might do it.
  • 1 in 12 attempted it. 

The USA’s Teen Depression Organisation reports that depression is the most common health disorder among teens and adults. Some teenage statistics: 

  • 20% will suffer depression before reaching adulthood.
  • 10% – 15% will show symptoms at any one time.
  • 8.3 teens will suffer depression compared to 5.3 adults in any one year.
  • 2% will develop Dysthemia – long lasting depression.
  • 15% of teens with depression will develop bi-polar disease.
  • 2% will become bi-polar by their late teen years.
  • Teens are more likely to suicide than adults.
  • Depression is the #1 cause of suicide.
  • The suicide ratio is 4 males to every female.
  • The depression ratio is 2 females to every male.

 As for animal cruelty, the statistics prove that it is on the rise – yes, rising! The facts are too horrible to reproduce here. If you have a strong enough stomach, simply Google‘animal cruelty statistics’. This writer did and simply could not cope with it. It struck me full force – we can educate our children; guide them; keep an eye out for signs of depression; there are so many ways we can help our children and help them to help themselves.

But we cannot do that for the world’s animals, who are defenceless and at the mercy of human beings. Yes – not ‘which’ but ‘who’. Animals have feelings, as any intelligent person observing them will know.

Recently the Fiji Times reported an increase in teenage obesity, sexual activity, and cigarette smoking – as garnered by the Global School Health Survey. Indeed, an Editorial featured these problems, but with not a mention of suicide.

Surely child and teen suicide, and cruelty to animals, should be given first priority. As we have already stated, it is a fact that children who abuse animals are more likely to mature into adults who abuse humans. 

It is also a fact that children and adults who abuse children, and teenagers, prompt them to think about, plan, and accomplish suicide. 

Let us hope that in future Vodaphone will thoroughly investigate the games it sponsors responsibly. Meanwhile, we suggest you monitor video and mobile games ads, and those your grandchildren play, carefully. We have the power to stop what, at rock-bottom, is child abuse.

This is just one example of Greypower’s influence in Fiji to bring to the attention of everyone the social issues that affect all of society and not just pensioners. From now on Greypower, through  the website fijipensioners.com, as well as personally, will be the monitors of social issues of Fiji to effect change for the better not just for older persons but also for children, animals, and all other vulnerable groups who need assistance to have their plight brought to the attention of the authorities. Greypower will not hesitate to go directly to the authorities to ensure that the social problems we have are dealt with expeditiously; we will provide possible solutions also. As older persons we have a responsibility to society beyond our own special concerns with our FNPF pensions.