When in doubt, blame the Internet

Do social networking sites lead to suicide?

In the U.K., that’s a debate that’s underway, involving at least one member of Parliament, after a spate of suicides involving people who knew each other.

It must be the Internet, seems to be the conclusion. It helped ‘create a suicide cult.’

Says MP Madeleine Moon:

“I’m particularly concerned about this false romanticism of the memory wall that seems to have set up on Bebo giving some sort of romantic idea of suicide and not conveying the huge tragedy and wasted lives that we are looking at here,” she told BBC Radio Wales.

Police investigating the latest incidents are trying to discover whether the girls had made contact on the internet, whether by e-mail or on a networking site.”

The BBC’s World Have Your Say program picks up the theme, and a parent of a teenager who tried to kill him or herself comments…


“I do not believe the pact issue but do think children over communicate.”

Overcommunicate?

Review the patterns associated with suicidal behavior, in this case according to Web MD

* Talking about suicide (killing one’s self)

* Always talking or thinking about death

* Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless

* Saying things like “It would be better if I wasn’t here” or “I want out”

* Depression (deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating) that gets worse

* A sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy

* Having a “death wish,” tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, like driving fast or through red lights

* Losing interest in things one used to care about

* Visiting or calling people to say goodbye

* Putting affairs in order, tying up lose ends, changing a will

At least six of these warning signs can only be ascertained through communication.

Update 12:37 – MPR’s Charlie Knutson calls my attention to the new Frontline documentary, Growing Up Online.

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