General

Experts warn about sharing violent videos

WA psychologists are concerned that sharing violent videos online can encourage people with violent tendencies to act out.

This followed the Christchurch mass shooting live-stream video being shared over 1.5 million times on Facebook.

Facebook’s live-stream function is unrestrained for anyone to use. Photo: Matthew Goddard

Cambridge Psychology clinical director Bill Saunders said violent videos being online can encourage others with the same thoughts to commit ‘copycat’ events.

“The more you have media coverage of murders, that encourages people of a similar disposition to think ‘I could do that'”, Dr Saunders said.

“Unfortunately there’s a sort of infamy that comes with that,

“When you get these alienated, marginalised, angry males belonging to an ideology, the ideology becomes their family.”

Curtin University Social Work and Social Policy professor Donna Chung described why people would want to watch these graphic videos.

“I think there’s still a curiosity, or ‘ooh’ factor in watching them,” she said.

“There is a tendency for people to want to have a look at these tragedies up close,

“When other people start talking about it, it brings that interest in it.”

Professor Chung also described the damaging effects seeing these videos can have on someone’s mental health.

“I think people can experience trauma by seeing those events,” she said.

On Tuesday Telstra blocked access to several websites continuing to host the Christchurch mass shooting video.

These websites included 4chan, 8chan, Voat, and Liveleak.

Dr Saunders said the main solution to preventing the attacks is a total ban of guns.

“The solution to this is to have no guns at all, but that will never happen.”

The Chief Psychiatrist of WA Nathan Gibson described the positive and negative consequences of social media on mental health.

“Social media is a double-edged sword in terms of mental health,” Dr Gibson said.

“It can expose individuals to a range of possibly disturbing or traumatic feeds and experiences.

“It also offers a vehicle for enhanced social engagement and easy and rapid access to online tools for therapy and well-being.”

WA psychologist Deise Carvalho is concerned about the impact of the media only reporting on negative subjects.

“As a mental health professional, I know that the population would welcome good news, and would benefit from receiving them,” she said.

We asked Curtin University students for their reactions to the Christchurch massacre video.



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