According to a 2019 Alexa Internet Inc. statistic, Youtube is the second most popular website on the internet.1 With so much popularity, comes responsibility. Therefore it is common for Youtube to censor videos that are considered to be inappropriate for youth. This includes everything from hate speech, to nudity, to copyrighted content. Youtube has the power to remove any video from its site that they deem inappropriate; however, they are choosing not to remove videos that teach viewers, of all ages, how to tie a noose. According to Michigan Health, “teens often plan their suicide for less than five minutes.”2 It is a combination of impulsivity and one click access to videos detailing how to hang oneself that is truly killing our youth.
Jen Libby, CEO and founder of Promly, a better social networking app for teens, and a renowned psychotherapist who has been practicing for over 20 years in New Jersey, has witnessed the drastic increase in suicides, specifically suicides by hanging, in recent years. From 2003-2009 there were 3 teen suicides in the geographic area she serves. From 2009-2019 there were between 6 and 9 suicides EVERY year. Since January 1, 2020, there have been 12 suicides to date, not even halfway through the calendar year. Of those suicides, 9 out of 12 were by hanging.
It’s not uncommon for teens to search up ways to kill themselves when in times of crisis. Luckily, when one searches “how can I kill myself,” they will be met with a variety of videos explaining the many reasons why they should not take their own life. However, if a teen searches “how to tie a noose” or “how to make a noose,” they see a small, faint gray line for crisis text and suicide hotline, but in roughly 30 seconds or less, they are then presented with hundreds of videos that teach them how to tie a noose effectively.
In 2020, how many people know how to tie a noose without the assistance of Youtube? In 2020, how many people really NEED to know how to tie a noose? If Youtube censored these videos as it does with other suicide videos, violence or boobs, maybe teens would have to take more time to find a suicide plan, thereby, they may consider the fact that life will change, this moment will pass, peoplein their life will suffer immense and often unrecoverable trauma from their suicide, and there is always another answer besides dying.
Youtube we are calling you out because you have the immense capacity to save lives, but you are choosing not to. Be better, not just for yourselves and your brand, but for the countless lives you could be saving.
Please sign our petition and help us save lives: Click me to Save Lives!
The views, opinions, and stories expressed in Promly Garden articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policy of Promly.org. We aim to give GenZ a voice and welcome articles and opinions from GenZ contributors who want their voice to be heard. Please send any articles, poetry, or artwork you’d like to see published on the Promly Garden to [email protected].
With immense gratitude, the Promly Team