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February 22, 2011

Self Injury Videos on You Tube

Self Injury Videos on YouTubeA new study in the journal Pediatrics from Montreal and Ontario, Canada assessed the rising phenomena of youtube videos depicting self-injurious non-suicidal behavior such as cutting and burning.  They found that the top 100 videos were viewed over 2 million times.  The tone of these videos was equally “factual” or melancholic.  The authors conclude:

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.

The increasing prevalence of these oftentimes graphic videos will hopefully promote increased awareness and discussion of self-injurious behaviors.  Many of the videos, to their credit, are factual and provide resources for persons who are self-injurious.





Published online February 21, 2011
PEDIATRICS (doi:10.1542/peds.2010-2317)


Stephen P. Lewis, PhDa, Nancy L. Heath, PhDb, Jill M. St Denis, MAa, Rick Noble, BSb
Department of Psychology, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada; and
bDepartment of Educational and Counseling Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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