Belfast Telegraph

MP urges block on suicide searches

The Government should block internet searches for suicide, an MP has said.

The Democratic Unionist Party's justice spokesman William McCrea called on ministers to examine ways of barring access to suicide sites advising web surfers how to kill themselves.

Unveiling his Bill under the Ten Minute Rule, he told the Commons: "A gatekeeper or guardian should be in place to monitor websites, having the power to forward the information to the appropriate authorities with a view to having those websites closed down."

He demanded a computer program where a pop-up window appears on screens when people type in certain suicide-related words, with would-be victims instead directed to sites offering help.

"So much of our young people's communication these days is non-verbal - texting, Facebook, chat rooms, internet gaming - instead of face-to-face communication, which may leave some young people unable to express their feelings when they experience difficult times," said Mr McCrea.

"Many young people talk about 'catching the bus' when they refer to seeking information about suicide on the internet."

His Suicide (Prevention) Bill demands ministers "develop a system of alerts and blocks for internet searches relating to suicide", but stands little chance of becoming law without Government backing.

The MP added: "For too long too many have passed on by because the sorrow and grief of suicide has not touched their family.

"We must do everything we can to help prevent suicide and to provide urgent help and hope for those who are contemplating it."

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