Youtube videos on self-injury behaviors

January 01, 0001

Youtube videos on self-injury behaviors

Nonsuicidal self-injury behaviors such as burning or cutting, has rates between 14% to 24% among youth and young adults. Websites such as YouTube allow the posting and sharing of videos. These Canadian researchers examined the nonsuicidal self-injury videos on YouTube. They used the website’s search engine using the keywords "self-injury" and "self-harm", reviewing the 50 most viewed character (using a live individual) and noncharacter videos.

The researchers found: "The top 100 videos analyzed were viewed over 2 million times, and most (80%) were accessible to a general audience. Viewers rated the videos positively and selected videos as a favorite over 12 000 times. The videos' tones were largely factual or educational (53%) or melancholic (51%). Explicit imagery of self-injury was common. Specifically, 90% of noncharacter videos had nonsuicidal self-injury photographs, whereas 28% of character videos had in-action nonsuicidal self-injury. For both, cutting was the most common method. Many videos (58%) do not warn about this content."

The researchers concluded: "The nature of nonsuicidal self-injury videos on YouTube may foster normalization of nonsuicidal self-injury and may reinforce the behavior through regular viewing of nonsuicidal self- injury-themed videos. Graphic videos showing nonsuicidal self-injury are frequently accessed and received positively by viewers. These videos largely provide nonsuicidal self-injury information and/or express a hopeless or melancholic message. Professionals working with youth and young adults who enact nonsuicidal self-injury need to be aware of the scope and nature of nonsuicidal self-injury on YouTube."

This study characterizes and brings to light a potentially important source of exposure to self-injury behaviors among youth

For the full abstract, click here.

Pediatrics 127(23):e552-e557, March 2011
© 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics
The Scope of Nonsuicidal Self-Injury on YouTube. Stephen P. Lewis, Nancy L. Heath, Jill M. St Denis, Rick Noble.

Category: P. Psychological. Keywords: self-injury, self-harm, video, YouTube, adolescent, descriptive study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 12 March 2011

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.