More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Call to ban pro-suicide websites
Saturday, 9 September 2006
BBC News

The government should make it illegal for internet sites to incite or advise people on how to commit suicide, a charity says.

Papyrus, set up to tackle young suicide, said the risk posed by pro-suicide websites was not being taken seriously enough.

The charity said the 1961 Suicide Act should be amended to make it illegal to publish such material on the web.

The government said it was looking at how rules could be tightened.

At the moment, the law says it is illegal to aid, abet, counsel, procure or incite someone to commit suicide, but to be successfully prosecuted the individual has to have knowledge and participated in the suicide.

The charity said it was aware of nearly 20 internet-related suicides cases in the UK in the last five years.

Papyrus said typing "I want to kill myself" into an internet search engine offers access to 5m sites, many of which give information on how to commit suicide or were chat-rooms where techniques are discussed.

A spokeswoman added: "The sites take no responsibility for the advice they give, do not identify themselves and generally create an atmosphere where suicide is normal, acceptable and to be encouraged.

"The fact is that it is illegal to groom a child to have sex, but not to kill themselves."

The charity said as well as changing the law, the Department of Health's National Suicide Strategy needed to be amended to include reference to the dangers of the internet.

It also wants to see computer manufacturers and retailers include leaflets the charity has produced warning of the dangers of the internet when they sell products.

The Home Office said it was considering whether the 1961 Act could be changed to take internet sites into account.

But a spokesman said: "It is a very complex issue, as many of these sites are hosted abroad and UK law won't apply there."

And the Department of Health said it was looking at other ways of addressing the problem.

"We share the public's concern about these websites and the influence they can have over vulnerable people, particularly young people.

"Ministers are working closely with the Samaritans and the Internet Service Providers Association to look at ways of supporting vulnerable people who may be accessing these sites."

'Web helped son kill himself'

See also:
Mandated Social Responsibility on the Net


I would love to see something like this come into effect. I realize it's a complicated issue, but I hope to see innovative ideas as to how to stop sites that promote not only suicide, but anorexia/bulemia, and other damaging behaviors. It's disgusting to think that there are people out there who would would even think to promote such things. :(


It's disgusting to think that there are people out there who would would even think to promote such things. :(

Ouch. Right now I have this forum open, an eating disorders recovery forum, and out of habit my pro-anorexia forum.

But as I spend more time at "healthy" forums I am less motivated to turn to pro-ana.

What brought me to pro-ana was friendships/support: I was alone and needed people. These are the ones who listened.

There is also a "cult" aspect to the pro-ana movement, as it is based largely on the personification of Anorexia as "ana." Community members "pray" to Ana and speak of her as an omnipresent being. There is a huge sense of betrayal to "the leader, Ana" when one questions her or anything about the movement.

There is also an addictive aspect to the presence of "thinspiration," images that encourage anorexia. I would suggest that this is eating disorder pornography, and is equally addictive.

What started me on stopping? A young mother on the site who couldn't pick up her son from kindergarten one day because she was so sick. 85lbs and I was telling her that Ana demanded that she lose more and never stop. I came to the realization that I was killing her and many others. That is a guilt that is heavy on my heart and will never leave me.

So I continue to struggle with my addiction, with the disorder that causes me not only to struggle with eating, but to worship those who do. One day I will not be one of these "disgusting" people without social responsibility.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Michelle, it is not those suffering from this disorder and the distorted thinking that goes along with it and supports it who are disgusting - it is the people who exploit them who are disgusting. Anorexia and bulimia are illnesses. What such sites (and DMOZ/ODP) are doing is promoting and encouraging illnesses, which, to my mind, is akin to encouraging and promoting cancer, syphilis, AIDS, or any other life threatening disease.


Understandable. Yet if that 5-year-old boy never gets picked up from kindergarten again because his mother dies as a direct result of "advice" I have given her, NO MATTER HOW DISORDERED MY THINKING IS.... I will never forgive myself.
There must be some level of social irresponsibility on my part that I realize this yet the disorder convinces me to go back again and again.
When I first left the site for a few days because of the guilt, I came back and adamantly apologized to the women there for disobeying Ana. That guilt was almost as great as the guilt I felt for killing off my only friends.
While I understand your point that deliberate exploitation is a whole other matter, I do accept the label "disgusting" upon myself.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I don't. I don't see you or anyone else suffering from an eating disorder to be disgusting. I do see the people who own and promote these websites as human maggots - feeding off the vulnerability and misfortune of others.


I agree completely with David. It's not those who are sick who disgust me. It's those who USE those who are sick who disgust me. It's just plain wrong!
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