Kill Suicide Grooming Sites

Internet Suicide From Computer Active 21/01/08:

Papyrus, a charity dedicated to stopping young people committing suicide, said eight in 10 people in a Yougov survey it commissioned want the Government to act.

It said there has never been a successful UK prosecution for promoting suicide online. Currently, for a successful prosecution it is most likely that the victim has to meet face to face with the person who wishes to assist in his or her death.

Papyrus said the Government must respond to what it called a "clear public demand" for change in the law to make it illegal to groom young people through online websites and chat rooms to take their own lives.

I’m a fierce believer that the Internet should remain, as far as is possible, an unrestricted forum for free speech, opinion and information. That said, though, sites which dedicate themselves to the grooming of young people, promoting and provoking them into taking their own lives, stands for an assault on morality and the many benefits that the Internet brings. Surely, these sites and practices can never be justified under any circumstances. The nature and purpose of such sites obviously differ from genuinely informative web content that merely seeks to provide information related to suicide methods and, say, the repercussions of such actions. Providing untargeted information is one thing; preying on troubled, and easily-influenced young people is nothing short of demonic.

Attempts to outlaw any site connected to suicide would prove virtually impossible and is, perhaps, contrary to the ethos and nature of the Internet itself.  Still, I am very much for the removal of websites that methodically eek out and deliberately play on the vulnerability of young people, encouraging them into suicide. Other countries – most notably Australia - have proven that legislation remains an effective tool in combating such websites and perhaps it’s time the UK followed suit.  A review of the Suicide Act 1961 would be a good place to start.

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