Cybersuicide: Online-Assisted Suicide

Courtney-Louise Moir, Calli Tzani, Maria Ioannou, David Lester, John Synnott, Thomas Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Suicide is a major public health problem around the world, with an estimated 800,000 deaths from suicide each year. Research suggests that the ever-growing use of the internet is contributing to and facilitating suicide. A thematic analysis was conducted on the final communications of three individuals aged between 18 and 21 to obtain an understanding of why people commit suicide online, how the internet is involved, and how individuals who are online can influence a person’s choice of life or death. The analysis found that all three suicides were encouraged and baited by their audience, often as the audience doubted the legitimacy of the events, which resulted in pride issues for the victim. The issue of excitement from the audience was also present in all three cases, suggesting that online communications feel more like entertainment than real life. Other themes include social disorders, hesitation, manipulation, and attention seeking behaviour related to low self-esteem. The finding showed that those who die online by suicide, have moments of hesitation, which are relevant for suicide-prevention strategies. The limitations of this study in terms of generalisability are discussed, and recommendations for the future of public awareness projects and research are given.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-891
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Volume38
Issue number4
Early online date17 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

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