The UK Government has announced a commitment to put £1.5m into research as to how to prevent suicide amongst those most at risk. At first glance this seems an unusual story for thinkbroadband to cover, but part of the strategy announced today appears to mesh with the consultations into parental controls, and the wider debate about what should and not be blocked on the Internet.
"Working with the media, and with the internet industry through members of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) to help parents ensure their children are not accessing harmful suicide-related websites, and to increase the availability and take-up of effective parental controls to reduce access to harmful websites."One key action area, in Suicide Prevention Strategy
The Guardian coverage details that the research will also explore how and why suicidal people use the Internet. The Register suggests Sunday Times coverage went further than the press releases, with suggestions that the new prevention strategy would also call on broadband providers to block suicide websites, whether this is actually a call for a mandatory blocking (i.e. adding to the IWF blocking) or just a stronger worded way of saying parental controls should be publicised more is unknown.
The Internet has been a great leveler of society, allowing people to engage with many others, and increase their social circle. Alas at the same time it can lead to some people cutting themselves off from the more traditionally social circles, and as with many aspects to life finding the correct balance is crucial. The biggest problem with Internet based social circles is that too many people adopt a different persona online, which can mask underlying problems or see people being misled by Internet trolls.
Interestingly when using Google to find articles for this item, Google includes the telephone number for the Samaritans in the UK, 08457 90 90 90. Talking to another person who will listen unconditionally is crucial for many, and we hope that any moves that may force additional blocking on providers is backed up with making sure that those with worries can easily find someone to talk to, rather than a stonewall of legislation.