Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Does The Internet Really Influence Suicidal Behavior?

Date:
April 14, 2008
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
People searching the Internet for information about suicide methods are most likely to come across sites that encourage suicide rather than sites offering help and support, finds a new study.

People searching the Internet for information about suicide methods are most likely to come across sites that encourage suicide rather than sites offering help and support, finds a study in the British Medical Journal. Media reporting of suicide and its portrayal on television are known to influence suicidal behaviour, particularly the choice of method used, but little is known about the influence of the internet.

Related Articles


Recent reports in the popular press have highlighted the existence and possible influence of internet sites that promote suicide and web forums that may encourage suicide in young people.

But despite these recent controversies, the ease with which these sites may be found on the internet has not been systematically documented nor the kind of information they contain been described.

Researchers from the Universities of Bristol, Oxford and Manchester set out to replicate a typical search that might be undertaken by a person looking for instructions and information about methods of suicide using the four most popular search engines--Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask--and 12 simple search terms.

They analysed the first ten sites from each search, giving a total of 480 hits.

Altogether 240 different sites were found and just under half of these provided some information about methods of suicide. Almost a fifth of hits (90) were for dedicated suicide sites, of which half were judged to be encouraging, promoting, or facilitating suicide.

Sixty-two (13%) sites focused on suicide prevention or offered support and 59 (12%) sites actively discouraged suicide.

Almost all dedicated suicide and factual information sites provided information about methods of suicide. But, a fifth (21%) of support and prevention sites and over half (55%) of academic or policy sites, and all news reports of suicides also provided information about methods.

Overall, Google and Yahoo retrieved the highest number of dedicated suicide sites, whereas MSN had the highest number of prevention or support sites and academic or policy sites.

In addition, the three most frequently occurring sites were all pro-suicide, whereas the information site Wikipedia was fourth. All top four sites evaluated methods of suicide including detailed information about speed, certainty, and the likely amount of pain associated with each method.

However, there is currently no regulation of suicide sites in the UK because they are not illegal.

Self-regulation by internet providers and use of filtering software by parents to block sites are the main approaches to reducing potential harm from suicide sites. However, efforts to remove some of the most detailed technical descriptions of suicide methods may be easily circumvented, say the authors.

They conclude that service providers might pursue website optimisation strategies to maximise the likelihood that sites aimed at preventing suicide are preferentially sourced by people seeking information about suicide methods rather than potentially harmful sites.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Does The Internet Really Influence Suicidal Behavior?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080411082947.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2008, April 14). Does The Internet Really Influence Suicidal Behavior?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080411082947.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Does The Internet Really Influence Suicidal Behavior?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080411082947.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins