Stephen Lewis, PhD, of the University of Guelph in Ontario, and colleagues conducted a study where they used certain keywords as search options on YouTube.
When they used the words "Self-injury" and "self-harm," they accessed close to 100 most popular videos on self-harm. Alarmingly, such videos got close to 2.3 million views of people cutting, burning and causing harm to themselves.
Surprisingly, there were no warnings related to content or even viewing restrictions. Researchers said that these videos can have a negative impact on young minds.
They wrote, "The nature of nonsuicidal self-injury videos on YouTube may foster normalization of nonsuicidal self-injury and may reinforce the behavior through regular viewing of nonsuicidal self-injury-themed videos."
80% of the videos did not have any viewing instructions. Close to 42% of videos maintained a neutral message , 23% gave a mixed message, 26% completely discouraged such practices, and 7% encouraged the acts.