«Matteo signed up to that site on April 12, two weeks before he took his own life. And the morning in which he decided to ingest the poison he was connected in chat with a dozen other boys, who supported him in his choice ». Speaking is Alessandro Cecconi, Matteo’s father, the eighteen year old student in the fourth year of the “Fermi” industrial technical institute in Bassano del Grappa who on 26 April decided to put an end to his existence in a break between a lesson and another of distance learning, only a few days after the birthday of his best friend. The site under investigation is a community with 17,000 members all over the world that the Rome Public Prosecutor’s Office, in recent days, has obscured by recognizing the crime of instigating suicide. The same site then became visible again. The charge for which the magistrates of the capital have started an investigation after the denunciation of two families, those of Fabio and Paolo, two nineteen who have chosen to die exactly like Matteo. Precisely the similarity between what happened, in a few months, to two boys from Rome and Latina (same age, same substance purchased on the web, same modalities) had led to the hypothesis of the deputy prosecutor of Rome, Alberto Pioletti, that a message could be broadcast online capable of convincing young people just over 18 to make irreparable decisions. Just as happened in the case of the student from Bassano, the two Lazio peers had purchased on an Internet site what has been dubbed “the poison of the web”, paying a few tens of euros. And just like him they had entered the community before they ended it.
All this she, Alessandro Cecconi, discovered in the hours following the death of her son, looking for a possible explanation of that gesture among the files hidden in her PC by the boy, an IT expert. «By sifting through Matteo’s computer, we saw that on the morning of April 26 he had connected to the site today under investigation. There were ten other users connected. I can’t say with certainty that they pushed him to make that extreme gesture, but they certainly supported and approved the choice ».
How? “By telling him he was doing the right thing. “Go and you will find peace”, for example, or phrases like: do not fear, you will see that everything will be fine ».
Do you think Matteo has made the decision to kill himself by browsing that site? “I do not believe. Reading through the pages of his computer I think he had already decided this for some time. He had researched and found elsewhere, but always on the web, the best way to end it: the substance to use, the right quantities, the sites in which to buy it, even what to do to avoid rejecting the poison and thus risking failure. in its own intent. On the site where he was surfing that last morning he found, instead, people who accompanied him in his choice and supported him. It is a bit like when a person is about to jump off a bridge: usually those who notice it try to dissuade them, protect them. In this case they gave him the final push ».
How do you feel about who was online with your son that morning? «I can’t blame them, but when I see that there are profiles that have been subscribed to that community for years, I wonder why they do it. Rather, I feel a grudge against those who allow sites like that to exist. Today they have obscured one and we can say we are happy, but others will soon arise, if they have not already done so ».
You are an educator, how can children be protected from these dangers? «I have tried it on my skin: even if, as parents, we may think we know our children, we will never be able to completely control their acquaintances, especially the virtual ones. Today with a click we can be in touch with the world but we are not yet able to protect ourselves from it. A first step, perhaps, we will be able to do when the obligation of digital identity is established “.
In recent days, he heard from the father of one of the boys at the center of the Roman investigation. «Yes, I called Fabio Gianfreda’s father and talking to him I relived exactly what happened to me. He has decided to become a point of reference for families who have experienced a drama similar to his. For me it is perhaps still too early, the pain is still too close, but it is my intention to work hard to avoid that when it happened to Matteo it could happen to others ».
Some telephone numbers are active to receive psychological support: Telefono Amico 199 284284; Telephone Azzurro 19696; InOltre Project 800 334343; De Leo Fund 800 168678.
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June 9, 2021 (change June 9, 2021 | 11:26)
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