|Posts related to suicide and self-harm have risen 3,828 percent this year.|
Pictures and videos regarding suicide increased 3,728 percent this year to over 8,000 posts, from 210 posts in 2017. About 84 percent of the content related to self-harm, such as cutting.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare, Korean National Police Agency, and the Korea Suicide Prevention Center have been work to secure an online “life-respecting” culture by running an interactive online suicide and self-injury information reporting program.
Citizens over 19 years of age can directly find and report online posts related to suicide and self-infliction by registering themselves as a monitor to crack down on the proliferation of such images and content. People can directly report posts that seek members for group suicides by calling 112, officials said.
On Thursday, the health ministry revealed shocking results from monitoring activities conducted for two weeks starting in mid-July.
The ministry received reports of 17,338 posts related to suicide and self-injury, a 43 percent increase from the same period last year. Over 8,000 posts were pictures and videos relating to suicide, 26 percent related to suicide methods, 14 percent pertained to other means to encourage suicide, 8 percent to seeking members for group deaths, and about 5 percent to selling poison.
About 80 percent, or 3,500 posts, were published on social networking sites, while others were posted on other communication channels such as online communities and portal sites. Instagram posts showing pictures of people who have committed self-harm accounted for 63 percent of the total.
The agencies deleted about 35 percent by working with the Korea Communications Standards Commission and the internet site owners. They saved four people who posted such content online.
"Pictures related to suicide - particularly to self-harm - posted on Instagram and social media platforms are expanding dramatically compared to last year, which is incredibly dangerous," said Han Chang-soo, head of the Korea Center for Suicide Prevention. "We will work closely with the Korea Communications Standards Commission and telecommunication firms to monitor the content."
An official at the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety also said, "Suicide and self-harm information can encourage suicides and needs to be regarded with caution. We will actively work towards systematic reform to block the proliferation of suicide and self-harm information."
The ministry, Korean National Police Agency, and the Korea Suicide Prevention Center will continue to work to cooperate with related institutions and reform the law to block the online information relating to suicide and self-harm, he added.
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