April 17, 2008

British Medical Journal Sends Its Scienticians To The Internet

And finds that "Suicide searches produce disturbing, unsurprising results."

Damn the internet, damn it and its tubes.

I'm not sure if I should get angry or laugh.  BMJ.  Not Weekly Reader.  BMJ.

An article in BMJ tries to determine how much information about suicide is online, and whether the sites are pro or anti suicide.  They searched the internet, and found:

Altogether 240 different sites were identified. Just under a fifth of hits (90) were for dedicated suicide sites. Half of these were judged to be encouraging, promoting, or facilitating suicide; 43 contained personal or other accounts of suicide methods, providing information and discussing pros and cons but without direct encouragement; and two sites portrayed suicide or self harm in fashionable terms...

Or, as the news articles about this study say:

But perhaps most disturbing was that the most frequent results were pro-suicide. "The three most frequently occurring sites were all pro-suicide," note the authors, who also found that "Wikipedia was the fourth most frequently occurring site." [emphasis mine.]

So I guess the internet is awash in suicidophilia.  Or maybe BMJ doesn't know how to use Google?

The [search] terms used were: (a) suicide; (b) suicide methods; (c) suicide sure methods; (d) most effective methods of suicide; (e) methods of suicide; (f) ways to commit suicide; (g) how to commit suicide; (h) how to kill yourself; (i) easy suicide methods; (j) best suicide methods; (k) pain-free suicide, and (l) quick suicide.

"Damn it!  I typed in "naked porn stars" and all I got back was naked pornstars!  What the hell is wrong with this thing?"

Try searching "suicide prevention."  Ok, see?  Can we all go back to worrying about illegal music downloads?