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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 86-90

Searching for Suicide Information on Web Search Engines in Chinese

Department of Psychiatry, National Defense Medical Center, Tri-Service General Hospital Beitou Branch, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC

Correspondence Address:
Dong-Sheng Tzeng
No. 60, Xinmin Road, Beitou District, Taipei 11243, Taiwan, ROC. Tel: (886)-2-28959808#603001; Fax: (886)-2-28961150
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmedsci.jmedsci_116_16

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Introduction: Recently, suicide prevention has been an important public health issue. However, with the growing access to information in cyberspace, the harmful information is easily accessible online. To investigate the accessibility of potentially harmful suicide-related information on the internet, we discuss the following issue about searching suicide information on the internet to draw attention to it. Methods: We use five search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yam, and Sina) and four suicide-related search queries (suicide, how to suicide, suicide methods, and want to die) in traditional Chinese in April 2016. We classified the first thirty linkages of the search results on each search engine by a psychiatric doctor into suicide prevention, pro-suicide, neutral, unrelated to suicide, or error websites. Results: Among the total 352 unique websites generated, the suicide prevention websites were the most frequent among the search results (37.8%), followed by websites unrelated to suicide (25.9%) and neutral websites (23.0%). However, pro-suicide websites were still easily accessible (9.7%). Besides, compared with the USA and China, the search engine originating in Taiwan had the lowest accessibility to pro-suicide information. The results of ANOVA showed a significant difference between the groups, F = 8.772, P < 0.001. Conclusions: This study results suggest a need for further restrictions and regulations of pro-suicide information on the internet. Providing more supportive information online may be an effective plan for suicidal prevention.

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