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February 2011



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Self Harm, YouTube

Article Date: 22 Feb 2011 – 3:00 PST

A Canadian study of nonsuicidal self-harm videos posted on YouTube suggests they could be reinforcing self-injury behavior and urges professionals working with young people to make themselves aware of their scope and content.

A report of the study, by researchers from the University of Guelph in Ontario and McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, appeared online on 21 February in the journal Pediatrics.

Lead researcher, Dr Stephen Lewis, Professor in the Department of Psychology at Guelph, told the media there was an alarming trend in teenagers posting videos on YouTube showing self-cutting and other forms of self-harm.

He and his colleagues suggested vulnerable teenagers might see this behavior as acceptable and difficult to overcome, leading them to harm themselves.

The study is thought to be the first to examine the effect, especially on young people, of the most popular depictions of self-harm shown on YouTube videos.

YouTube is a sharing Internet website where anyone can upload a video for others to view. You don’t have to be a registered user to view videos, but you have to register with the site to upload videos.

YouTube, now a subsidiary of Google, started in late 2005 and while no-one appears to know the exact number, today it is thought to contain tens of millions of videos, mostly uploaded by individuals.

The Internet can be a good and bad thing for vulnerable young people, as Lewis explained:

“Many youth who self-injure may go online to find support, but at the same time they may see videos that could be harmful if self-injury is depicted as typical behaviour or if viewing these videos triggers the behaviour.”

Read in Full: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/217136.php

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