McGimpsey Wants Action On Suicide From Internet Providers

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Northern Ireland Health Minister met with internet providers to discuss what actions they were taking to prevent social networking sites being used to promote suicide.

In a straight talking meeting with internet providers including Vodafone, Bebo and Google the Health Minister requested that they confirm by the end of the month what actions they intend to take to prevent their sites being used to assist young people in taking their own lives.

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Mr McGimpsey highlighted the growing danger of copycat suicides linked to internet usage. He pointed to the number of recent deaths which have been connected with social networking sites.

While recognising the positive contribution made by the Internet industry the Minister said: "The work undertaken so far must be welcomed, however what we need are preventative measures now! Young people are our most valuable resource we can not delay in putting in place strong measures aimed at protecting them.

"In the last twelve months the rate of suicides in Northern Ireland has increased significantly and the internet has been cited as a contributory factor in some cases.

"This is not a problem that is unique to Northern Ireland and has the potential to be repeated in other jurisdictions. For that reason I will be raising this issue at my forthcoming meetings with my counterparts in the rest of the UK and the republic of Ireland."

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