Any social network worth its salt these days allows its users to use hashtags. For the uninitiated hashtags are keywords that allow users to find other posts with similar interests and are usually preceded by the pound sign (#). Unfortunately, some of those interests may be detrimental to the user.
In the past, I’ve talked about certain self-harming behaviors like the pro-ana movement. That’s where people, mostly young girls, believe that eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are lifestyle choices and use ‘Thinspiration’ or thinspo for short as their rallying cry. Other self-harm behaviors I have not talked much about before are self-cutting or self-mutilation and the ultimate self-harming, suicide.
In the past, some social networks have banned certain hashtags that promote self-harm such as Tumblr and Instagram. However, those in the self-harming community are supposedly using new and supposedly secret hashtags like #sue and #secretsociety123.
This is all part of a much larger problem than just teens on social sites. In this day and age of alleged social enlightenment, there is still a stigma on mental health treatment. Just because your son or daughter may need mental health treatment that does not make them broken or any less of a person. And if you are a teen and you know someone who is seeking or receiving mental health treatment you should be giving them your support. Self-harm in any way shape or form is not normal or healthy. If you are self-harming please get off of the social sites where there are triggers abound and ask your parents or school about finding resources to get help.
There is no shame in wanting to get better.
A New Policy Against Self-Harm Blogs:
Microblogging/social networking site Tumblr has taken a bold move that you would think would be common sense. They’ve recently taken steps to ban blogs that encourage self-harm. What is considered self-harm you ask? The methods that come immediately to mind for me and Tumblr are sites that encourage anorexia, bulimia, self-cutting, and suicide. Unfortunately, sites like that have been around as long as the internet was commercially available.
Many years ago when I was first starting out as a blogger another blogger who had suffered from eating disorders pointed out these sites to me. They claimed that anorexia and bulimia are lifestyle choices and not the disorders that they are. They would use buzzwords like Ana, Mia, and thinspiration to appeal to young girls. I was appalled at this. I thought who could honestly think that willingly engaging in these disorders is a good thing. Now that I’m an older and wiser blogger I know now that there are people out there who are willing to engage in just about any dangerous and hurtful activity and want others to join them.
Back then I tried starting a campaign to get the blogging/social networking sites of the day to ban those types of blogs. I was highly unsuccessful. Sites like LiveJournal defended the practices by claiming that those engaging in those behaviors and encouraging others to join them was a free speech issue as did the Pro-Ana and Pro-Mia communities.
So I applaud Tumblr for taking this bold step in not only trying to protect their users but others as well. To those of you crying that somehow your freedom of speech was violated have to remember that Tumblr is a private company and they can regulate the blogs on their servers as they see fit.
Lastly, those of you who engage in these practices as a lifestyle please seek professional help as you are suffering from a sickness.
‘You can’t save people from themselves’:
This about just one of the many scourges on the internet that I talk about but this one has nothing to do with crime per se. This has to do with websites that proclaim that eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are not diseases but ‘lifestyle choices’.
That’s right. You heard me correctly. There are people out there who actually believe that disorders like anorexia are not only good but are a viable alternative to…you know…eating.
The article sort of poses the question should pro-ana and pro-mia sites be censored. Now if you mean censored in the way that they should be outlawed by the government then no. If you mean censored in the way that webhosts like Livejournal, MySpace, and Xanga should shut them down for violating their TOS then yes.
But places like MySpace, LiveJournal, and Xanga do not want to shut these groups down. They claim that it’s free speech but we all really know what it’s about. They don’t want to alienate a part of their userbase that click on their advertisements which in turn makes them money. Never mind if a few people end up killing themselves over what they call a lifestyle choice, there’s money to be made from those skeletons.
Webhosts like MySpace and the like need to be more personally responsible instead of financially responsible. If these groups were to be shut down would it really hurt the bottom line?
If there was a pro-suicide group would the webhosts allow those? Because claiming that eating disorders are a choice is basically the same thing.